Posts by Simon Black

Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter Notes from the Field is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom, make more money, keep more of it, and protect it all from bankrupt governments.

  • First post: 16/06/2009
  • Posts written: 2317

Latest Articles

How to acquire Polish citizenship

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Are you “out of touch”?

July 26, 2010
Krakow, Poland

By the late summer of 1939, Hitler's forces had absorbed Austria and Czechoslovakia into his growing empire, and Germany's military was massed at the Polish border clearly preparing for invasion.

In an astonishing display of perhaps the greatest complacency in the history of the modern world, however, Polish people sat lazing about their lakes, beaches, and riverbanks worrying about more pressing matters-- like how to beat the summer[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Swiss Annuities, Vanuatu, Retirement, German Citizenship

July 23, 2010
Krakow, Poland

Krakow is always beautiful in the summertime. It has one of the most vibrant city-centers in Europe... and as the economy is fairly healthy here in Poland, there are always a lot of people out in the streets enjoying themselves.

I'll tell you more about Krakow next week; for now, on to this week's questions.

First, Heather asks, "Simon, the article your wrote about currencies racing to[...] Click here to continue reading

What the race to the bottom looks like

July 22, 2010
Krakow, Poland

If you pay attention to currencies much, you've probably been following the euro closely over the last few months.  The euro hit its 24-month high in US dollar terms on November 30, 2009, right around $1.50. It's been on a steady slide ever since.

Earlier this year, serious concerns began surfacing about the balance sheets of many European governments.  The "PIIGS" nations were all simply borrowing too much[...] Click here to continue reading

3 Great Locations for Outsourcing Your Work

July 21, 2010
Krakow, Poland

I was on the phone with a major bank last night. As usual, I had to navigate their automated phone system hitting 'zero' until my finger turned blue... I was finally forwarded to an offshore call center where the representative was more keen to follow the script than to actually help me.

We've all been there. Sometimes it's perfectly fine, and other times the communication barrier is just[...] Click here to continue reading

This is what they think of us…

July 20, 2010
Krakow, Poland

Apparently, all of us little people just need to sit down and keep quiet... so sayeth Kartik Athreya, senior economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.

In a recent paper entitled "Economics is Hard. Don't Let Bloggers Tell You Otherwise," Mr. Athreya chastised the world of bloggers, talking heads, and anyone else who isn't named Kartik Athreya for speaking their minds about economic policy.  Clearly, everyone else[...] Click here to continue reading

To be, or not to be planting flags in Denmark

July 19, 2010
Copenhagen, Denmark

The Kingdom of Denmark is one of those places like Ghana or Guatemala... everyone's heard of it, but no one really knows anything about it aside from what they read in Hamlet. I'm here to tell you that the country definitely has some merit, and it may be worthy of you planting some flags, with caution.

For starters, Denmark ranks very highly as a place to plant a[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Body scanners, transporting gold

July 16, 2010
Copenhagen, Denmark

I'm back in Copenhagen today in the middle of a heat wave! This city definitely has a lot to offer potential expats, and I'm going to publish a short article about it on Monday assuming I don't dismember myself during tomorrow's parkour training.

On to this week's questions:

First, Chris asks, "Simon, the new Going Global report sounds very interesting, but can you comment on to what[...] Click here to continue reading

Case Study: The Maltese Expat

July 15, 2010
Bath, England

I'm presently writing this missive on the UK's Great Western Railway somewhere between Bath and London's Paddington station. I'm flying back to Copenhagen in a bit to meet up with my business partner, but I wanted to take a few minutes and tell you about an interesting woman that I've met.

"Emma" is a 70-year old British widow who originally hails from Bath. Perhaps it's true what they[...] Click here to continue reading

Going global– what to do right now

July 14, 2010
Bath, England

For beginners, planting multiple flags can seem like a complex topic. How does one even begin selecting jurisdictions? How do you actually go about selecting the right offshore bank, or foreign real estate agent? What are the best passport opportunities available?

Until now, there hasn't been a 'quick start' guide to explain all of these concepts and get people headed in the right direction. I try to cover[...] Click here to continue reading

They’ll even go back in time to steal your money…

July 13, 2010
Bath, England

It's no secret that the government-- any government-- has nearly unlimited authority to do whatever they want, whenever they want. They can bend the rules, spin reality, and use their national constitutions like a roll of cheap, single-ply toilet paper.

Lately, governments have been unafraid to increase the size and scope of their powers, making drastic changes often with near immediate effect.

For example, UK Chancellor[...] Click here to continue reading

The most expensive city in the world…

July 12, 2010
Bath, England

The most expensive city in the world is not in the North America, or Europe, or even the Middle East... it's in Africa.

According to an annual cost of living survey that is sponsored by international HR consulting firm Mercer, the most expensive city in the world is Luanda, Angola.

In case you're scrambling for an atlas right now, Angola is an oil rich country on southern[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: all about second passports

July 9, 2010
London, England

Today's letter is a bit early-- I'm running out soon to meet up with several subscribers at the Clarendon lounge in Notting Hill. Feel free to drop by if you're in the area tonight between 6pm and 7pm.

On to this week's questions, which are ironically all about citizenship:

Reader Antagau comments, "Simon, I am a South Korean citizen living in the U.S. as a permanent resident[...] Click here to continue reading

What 5.7 tons of cocaine means to you

July 6, 2010
London, England

It appears that Wachovia Bank has been a bad little boy and not following the rules.

Recent reports from a US Justice Department investigation suggest that the bank didn't follow anti-money laundering requirements from 2004 to 2007. During that time, over $378.4 billion of Mexican drug money passed through its offices.

Wachovia was formerly one of the largest banks in the United States; they went bust in[...] Click here to continue reading

Planting flags in Germany

July 7, 2010
Berlin, Germany

As I'm in Berlin for some quick business, I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about planting flags in Germany; perhaps today is an appropriate day to do so as the Deutschland national football team is taking on Spain in tonight's World Cup semi-final... and there are German flags flying everywhere.

As a place to visit or plant a residency flag, Germany is a personal call.[...] Click here to continue reading

The Worst Investors in the World

July 6, 2010
Berlin, Germany

Last Friday, I read about how the US workforce shrank by over 650,000 in June, one of the sharpest contractions ever. Private sector hiring was also less than expected, suggesting that joblessness in the US will remain sluggish.

Always ready to spin a bad story, US politicians immediately began heralding the jobs data as clear evidence that the tide was turning, that the US economy is headed in[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Neil Strauss, Gay friendly countries, packing for travel

July 2, 2010
Copenhagen, Denmark

I'm in a bit of a rush this morning as I have to catch a plane to Copenhagen; it's a great, clean city with lots of English speaking people and a reasonable banking system-- I'll tell you more about it next week.

Before moving on to this week's questions, I want to mention that I've recently put the finishing touches on my share of a new 'offshore strategies'[...] Click here to continue reading

Why you should plant a corporate flag

July 1, 2010
Oxford, England
-- Happy Canada Day --

One aspect of multiple flags that I don't address too much is using corporations to your advantage. This is an important strategy that I think you should consider, and there are several reasons for doing so.

Most importantly, governments generally respect businesses a hell of a lot more than individuals. To politicians, people are just slaves to be controlled... as my friend Doug[...] Click here to continue reading

It’s time for solutions

June 30, 2010
Oxford, UK

I'm impressed by many insightful responses we received from yesterday's letter. I'd really encourage you to browse the comments section and see how everyone weighed in on the topic of politicians protecting their interests at the expense of our civil liberties.

It's important to explore these issues from time to time-- they serve as a reminder to take action while we still can. But rather than dwell[...] Click here to continue reading

The government is sending you a message

June 29, 2010
Oxford, England

My apologies for not writing to you yesterday... I was angry (a rare occurrence for me), and I hate writing to my friends when I'm angry. You see, the G8/G20 summits took place over the weekend in Toronto, and everything about these events simply boils my blood.

To me, there's nothing more utterly worthless than a bunch of corrupt, irrelevant, incompetent bureaucrats who generate enormous pomp and circumstance[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions about Open Opportunity IRA, Net worth, and more

June 25, 2010
Barcelona, Spain

It's early in the morning here in Barcelona-- the part of day they refer to as 'madrugada' in Spanish... near dawn.  I'm just wrapping a few things up here before heading out on a long drive.

My weekend plans entail meeting up with a rather eclectic group of bankers, investors, and diplomats in a remote location high up in the mountains. We're gathering at an old monastery that's[...] Click here to continue reading

Finding a cancer vaccine in Barcelona

June 24, 2010
Barcelona, Spain

At the spur of the moment, I decided to fly to Barcelona yesterday to attend the 'Fiesta de San Juan'.  It's common in many parts of Europe and Latin America to celebrate the official, astrological first day of summer, which also happens to be the longest day (and shortest night) of the year.

In Barcelona, it's an all night party that includes beach bonfires and a hell of[...] Click here to continue reading

Everything changed overnight… what to do now?

June 23, 2010
Oxford, England

Yesterday in the UK, something happened that has significant implications for us all.

Old western economies are clearly losing their dominance. Particularly in Europe, the costs of broken pension plans and entitlement programs are bankrupting entire economies.

Yet, national governments continue to perversely borrow and consume; politicians have been acting like degenerate gamblers, borrowing money from anyone they could, blowing it all on terrible bets, borrowing more[...] Click here to continue reading

An easy way to bank in the Channel Islands

June 22, 2010
Oxford, England

In our daily conversations, we talk a lot about planting multiple flags-- this is the practice of diversifying sovereign risk in order to protect or asses and our assets.

After all, sovereign risk is the greatest risk we face today as investors, entrepreneurs, professionals, and free individuals. Governments have absolute authority to seize, commandeer, or otherwise control any asset of their choosing, including ourselves, and they can back[...] Click here to continue reading

What the World Cup tells us about multiple flags

June 21, 2010
London, UK

While I have been traveling around Latin America and Europe for the last few weeks, there has been one constant in my travels: World Cup football.

I'm not a huge fan of the sport, but as an amateur athlete I appreciate the excitement and spectacle of international competition, particularly one that draws billions of eyeballs. Watching Brazil's victory in Rio was definitely an amazing experience, as was watching[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: renouncing US citizenship, postal mail for PTs

June 18, 2010
Madrid, Spain

Long haul flights from South America generally tend to leave in the evening, usually between 7pm and 1am. The airlines do this so that you arrive first thing in the morning and can catch any connecting flight you may need... which is nice for travelers.

The flight schedule does make things a bit inconvenient prior to departure, though.  Even with a late hotel check-out, you'll have about 5[...] Click here to continue reading

The next richest man in the world is Brazilian

June 17, 2010
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

I'm dashing off to the airport this afternoon to catch my flight to Europe... but I wanted to leave you with a few final notes about Brazil.

First, to properly set your expectations, Brazil is not poor-- it's not some third world country where everyone is grateful that foreigners have arrived to sprinkle their pocket change. A typical university graduate in Brazil, for instance, can expect[...] Click here to continue reading

Obtaining a Brazilian passport

June 16, 2010
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Crime and Poverty in Rio de Janeiro

June 15, 2010
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Here's the best way that I can describe Rio de Janeiro-- it's what you get when you mix the gorgeous vistas of Vancouver with the beach culture of Miami, the chaos and squalor of Mexico City, and the carefree attitude of the Caribbean.

Rio is one of those places that everyone has an opinion about... and the opinion is completely binary. Book a trip to Rio[...] Click here to continue reading

The biggest reason to consider Brazil

June 14, 2010
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

It's nice to be back in Brazil again... if you haven't been to this country, I highly recommend that you check it out.

Brazil is one of the largest countries on earth in terms of both land mass and population (over 200 million); consequently, there is tremendous diversity. The capital city of Brasilia is completely different than the tourism hub of Rio de Janeiro, which is[...] Click here to continue reading

Your questions and important updates

June 11, 2010
Santiago, Chile

As I mentioned in yesterday's subscribers-only letter, I've been to Chile numerous times, and I like it more each time I'm here. For this trip, which is unfortunately short, I wanted to survey the countryside to see the extent of the earthquake damage.

It's easy to have already forgotten February's 8.8 earthquake in Chile, roughly 500x stronger than Haiti's.  That's because there was scant media coverage, limited outpouring[...] Click here to continue reading

Note: June 10, 2010

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Two interesting opportunities in Panama

June 9, 2010
Panama City, Panama

Panamanians are generally a carefree lot... but there are a few things that they curiously take very, very seriously. Mother's Day is one example-- it's held in December, and the entire country shuts down for the day, including banks and government offices.

Voting is another example-- it's actually compulsory in Panama to go to the polls, and the government ensures that you don't have any excuses by[...] Click here to continue reading

The positive trends I see in Panama

June 8, 2010
Panama City, Panama

I've been pleasantly surprised this week by some recent changes in Panama that continue to demonstrate this country's positive momentum.

Yes, there is still corruption, squalor, pollution, and traffic amidst the soaring condominium towers and luxury car dealerships. But the larger point to capture is that Panama is clearly on an upward trend-- month by month, it becomes better, nicer, more modern.

In contrast, the dying[...] Click here to continue reading

What I learned from the government agents

June 7, 2010
Panama City, Panama

My weekend in New York City with fellow Atlas 400 members was really spectacular and first class all the way. There were about 50 of us in total, all with varied and interesting backgrounds from all over the world-- a renowned heart surgeon, a music business mogul, a couple of best-selling authors, successful entrepreneurs, etc.

I want to tell you a lot more about the event because[...] Click here to continue reading