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

Questions: Your legal requirements, banking in Singapore, Colombian citizenship

June 4, 2010
New York City

Today, my friends and colleagues from the Atlas 400 group are gathering in New York City for another weekend adventure. It's something I've been looking forward to since our last event in Panama.

As you've heard me describe before, the Atlas 400 is a private group of successful, like-minded individuals who meet at world-class locations to discuss their ideas, socialize, and forge lasting personal and business[...] Click here to continue reading

One government that’s doing a lot of things right

June 3, 2010
Washington, DC

As a permanent traveler with no fixed home, I'm fortunate to be largely insulated from the incompetence and negative consequences of most governments. Through the proper use of internationalization techniques, I'm able to reduce my tax burdens, increase my privacy, protect my assets, take advantage of more opportunities, and substantially reduce my exposure to thieving bureaucrats.

Consequently, I generally try to avoid complaining too much about governments in[...] Click here to continue reading

The future is bright in this country

June 2, 2010
Washington, DC

A few days ago, Colombian voters went to the polls for the first round of their quadrennial presidential elections. For many, it will be the most important decision of the new century thus far.

The current President, Alvaro Uribe, leaves office later this summer after two consecutive terms in office. He is legally barred from serving a third term. Uribe is regarded as the nation's savior by many[...] Click here to continue reading

Crime and Safety around the world

June 1, 2010
Undisclosed Location

I had a really great long weekend in Chicago (hence the day off yesterday) and was fortunate enough to meet up with a couple of very interesting subscribers. President Obama was even in town, and the entire city was in a heightened state of security.

Regardless of the President's presence, though, there were 30 shootings in the city over the weekend... which is enough to make anyone scratch[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Gold in your retirement account, attitude, sustainable community

May 28, 2010
Chicago, IL, USA

Chicago is a really beautiful city-- one of my favorites in the United States, actually, along with Austin, TX and Sheridan, WY. But while I enjoy being back in the US as a tourist from time to time, I'm itching to get out of here.

The travel I've just scheduled is a bit insane. Next week, I'm traveling to New York for an Atlas 400 event. Immediately[...] Click here to continue reading

Not as advertised

May 27, 2010
Chicago, IL, USA

Uruguay is one of the countries that generally receives a lot of praise and positive commentary in the expatriate blogosphere. It's often referred to as the "Switzerland of South America," or compared directly to Paris... probably by people who have been to neither Switzerland nor Paris.

The truth is that Uruguay is a very pleasant country in many respects. It's relatively clean, quiet, safe, and not very[...] Click here to continue reading

Is Canada an option for you?

May 26, 2010
Chicago, IL, USA

If you're shopping around for a tier 1, first world second citizenship, you might find a solution in Canada (unless of course you're a native Canadian).

In my view, Canada offers two key advantages. First, a Canadian passport is an incredibly valuable travel document-- Canadians are generally greeted around the world without stigma or significant visa requirements.

Second, Canada has a very reasonable tax scheme for[...] Click here to continue reading

Jobs in Amerika

May 25, 2010
Chicago, IL, USA

I woke up this morning to a rather interesting newspaper headline:

"Private Wages Fall in Historic Pay Shift"

The article went on to explain how wages from the private sector, as a percentage of total US personal income, have shrunk to their lowest level in history. In other words, it's clear evidence that government jobs and entitlement programs are slowly taking over the economy.

I've[...] Click here to continue reading

Shortcut to a second passport

Are you Jewish? Do you want to be? If so, you're entitled to an Israeli passport.

In Israel, the "Law of Return" provides means for all Jews, and individuals of Jewish ancestry, to acquire Israeli residency and citizenship. Israeli law defines Jewish ancestry as having at least one Jewish parent or grandparent.

In the event that you don't fit the ancestry definition, the law also provides the 'right of return' to all converted[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Advice for a young man, and more

May 21, 2010
Quad Cities, IA, USA

It's been a lovely few days here in America's heartland... I've been able to catch up with some of my friends, but to be honest with you, I'm aching to get back on a plane and get out here.

I've decided to wait it out for another 2-weeks; there is an Atlas 400 gathering in New York City on June 4th, and a lot of[...] Click here to continue reading

A good reason to head to New Zealand

May 20, 2010
Quad Cities, IA, USA

The New Zealand government just announced something that I find rather surprising... but a step in the right direction. Concerned about debt levels, both public and private, they've announced changes to the tax code which encourage savings and investment, and discourage consumption.

Specifically, the government is planning measures which cut and simplify income tax rates, ranging from 10.5% to 33% (down from as high as 38%).[...] Click here to continue reading

Why this may be the Great Deleveraging Part Zwei

May 19, 2010
Quad Cities, IA, USA

I wanted to send you a short note today from America's heartland to tell you what I'm doing with my investment capital, and why.

I'm closing out almost all of my speculative positions and going to sit on the sidelines for a bit because I'm concerned that the markets are entering another major deleveraging period.

Here are the facts which concern me-

1)[...] Click here to continue reading

Tell me what’s holding you back

I generally don't spend very much time in the US.

I think there are more desirable places out there... and to me, the US is just like any other country in decline like Italy or Spain-- I really enjoy it as a tourist, I just don't care enough for the politics or media to stay for long periods of time.

That's one of the benefits of being a permanent traveler with no[...] Click here to continue reading

The real risk in Thailand

May 17, 2010
Undisclosed location

You've probably seen some clips on the news about the political current unrest in Thailand, and some headlines like "CHAOS IN THAILAND!"

These headlines are inaccurate. Thailand, the country, is not in chaos. The political unrest is taking place in a small section of Bangkok, and this is where the chaos is... actually, it's more like a war zone.

In the rest of the country, though, it's[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: A multiple flags overview, no more euro, a no brainer, Italians in Panama

May 14, 2010
Undisclosed location

I want to start off today by once again thanking you for all the well-wishing emails after my operation this week. I read through a large backlog of email last night, and I was truly humbled by all the positive energy and goodwill out there. Thank you.

With that, I'd like to jump in to this week's questions:

Phil says, "Simon, I sincerely appreciate the info contained[...] Click here to continue reading

What nobody says about the death of the dollar

May 13, 2010
Undisclosed Location

Ask yourself an important question: how will you know when the proverbial fat lady is about to sing?

In our regular conversations, we talk a lot about the importance of being prepared... history is full of examples of pigs that got slaughtered for not being prepared, for not heeding the warning signs, and for waiting until it was too late.

For example, we may be able to[...] Click here to continue reading

Why we’re up 30% on our gold/euro position

May 12, 2010
Undisclosed Location

First of all, I really want to thank all the well-wishers who were kind enough to write me and wish me luck on my operation yesterday. Everything went off without a hitch, and I'm already feeling much better.

I will unfortunately need to stay in place for a few weeks while I recover and have a few follow-up visits, but I expect to get airborne again quite soon.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Planting an offshore medical flag

May 10, 2010
Undisclosed location

I'm going under the knife tomorrow... it's a little unexpected, but apparently I need a rather urgent surgical procedure performed, and the doctors here have fit me in at their first available time.

To be honest with you, I'm pretty disappointed-- no, not because of the operation. These things happen from time to time, and I'm pretty fearless. I'm mostly disappointed because I'm not in much condition at[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: the next trade, Panama’s future, robbed of his gold, confidence

May 6, 2010
Undisclosed Location

If you'll kindly indulge me, I will jump right into this week's questions.

First, Jeff writes, "Simon- you really called the gold/euro short (XAUEUR), I'm up 25% since you mentioned it. Where do you see it going now?"

The European-induced panic is causing a rush to 'quality' once again. The dollar has surged, Treasuries rallied, and just about everything else fallen, including oil, silver, and that third-world[...] Click here to continue reading

Which countries are at risk, which countries are safe from a dollar crisis

May 6, 2010
Undisclosed Location

Most people don't realize how many countries out there are dollarized.

In some countries, like El Salvador, Panama, Palau, Ecuador, etc. the US dollar officially circulates in the economy. In others, like Cambodia and Zimbabwe, the US dollar is the de facto currency, which means that they officially have their own currency, but US dollars are commonly used and accepted for everyday purchases.

Moreover, in other[...] Click here to continue reading

Would you take to the streets too?

May 5, 2010
Undisclosed location

The last few days have been great for the shorts. I'm one of them. Global markets have been in an absolute panic over what's happening in Europe, and many major indices have erased their 2010 gains.

Clearly, the most concerning issue of the day is the ongoing trouble in Greece. The government has been borrowing and spending far beyond its means, and far beyond its growth potential for[...] Click here to continue reading

A recap from this weekend’s Las Vegas summit

May 3, 2010
35,000 feet over the Sonora desert

You'll have to forgive me for taking the day off yesterday. This past weekend's Casey Research Summit was simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting... but after standing on my feet all weekend taking rapid-fire questions from hundreds of subscribers, I really needed some time to myself.

As I'm presently en route to see my family for a few days (Wi-Fi on airplanes is a convenient curse),[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: The job postings, tax implications, Asian banking, Switzerland, Belize

April 30, 2010
Las Vegas, NV

It's chilly in Las Vegas, but I'm having a great time meeting so many subscribers here at the Casey conference; I'm pleased at how many have turned up for the event, and I'm always humbled by the exceptional people we have in our community.

My only regret is that the conference organizers could not allocate more space for Sovereign Man readers, and I will personally ensure this[...] Click here to continue reading

Looking for a profitable excuse to go to Belize?

April 29, 2010
Las Vegas, NV

If you've ever been looking for an excuse to go to Belize, now you have one.

Mr. Joel Nagel, one of the world's leading asset protection lawyers and international banking experts, is hosting an Emergency Asset Protection Forum in Ambergris Caye, Belize from May 18 - May 20.

I know it's short notice, but if you can make I'd encourage you to attend.

We've spoken[...] Click here to continue reading

A sign that gold may about to be unleashed

April 28, 2010
St. Michaels, MD, USA

Since I arrived from Santo Domingo on Monday evening, I've been enjoying some peace and quiet in this quaint, quiet, wealthy little town on the Maryland shoreline.

St. Michaels is where Porter Stansberry is holding his annual 'idea conference,' which he sponsors each year around this time. The goal? He brings together successful people from a variety of backgrounds to discuss their best ideas-- investments,[...] Click here to continue reading

Getting scammed on a second passport

April 27, 2010
St. Michaels, Maryland, USA

Yesterday I told you about the official way to go about obtaining residency and citizenship in the Dominican Republic-- essentially, it takes about four years from start to finish until you receive your passport, though you may be expedited for investing $200,000 in the local economy.

As I mentioned, though, the country is [in]famous for shady practices like issuing passports that do not conform to official[...] Click here to continue reading

Acquiring Citizenship in the Dominican Republic

April 26, 2010
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

For most people, there are really only three reasons for going to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic:

The first is to transit to some other, 'nice', part of the country.

The second is for sex tourism, which is in incalculable abundance here for both men and women.

The third is to establish residency in the hopes of eventually obtaining a passport from the Dominican Republic.
[...] Click here to continue reading

Answering your questions about Ecuador

April 23, 2010
Quito, Ecuador

It has been a whirlwind week this time around in Ecuador; I've been to just about every corner of the country, inspecting property, making new legal, banking, and real estate contacts, and cementing old ones.

In short, it's been an incredibly productive trip. Most importantly, I picked up on some really valuable immigration leads that I plan on sharing with you soon once I test it out myself...[...] Click here to continue reading

Selling snake oil in the Valley of Longevity

April 22, 2010
Vilcabamba, Ecuador

There must be something in the water down here.  They call this place the "Valley of Longevity" because it's not uncommon for people to live well past the century mark... and it's true.

Driving around the town last night and this morning, I couldn't help but notice so many elders going on about their business. Mind you, I didn't exactly card anyone (record keeping here is quite poor),[...] Click here to continue reading

Pricing in Ecuador

April 21, 2010
Cuenca, Ecuador

Last night I ate at one of the fanciest restaurants in Cuenca.  Everything except for the Chilean wine was locally grown and absolutely delicious, right down to the banana flan for dessert.

The total bill for my beautiful companion and I rang in at $40.02, including 3 courses with wine.

For lunch, I ate at a local cafe-- another 3-course meal with a chicken soup to start[...] Click here to continue reading

Six reasons to consider Ecuador

April 20, 2010
Cuenca, Ecuador

Ecuador is not one of those places on everyone's radar. In fact, when I recently announced that I would be returning to Ecuador, I received a handful of subscriber emails like this one:

"Why are you wasting your time in that communist money pit? [SB: strange choice of words...]"

Clearly, Ecuador suffers from a similar reputational stigma as Colombia, and this keeps that majority of gringos away.[...] Click here to continue reading

Important information about capital controls

April 19, 2010
Quito, Ecuador

I don't have to tell you that world governments are collectively pushing hard against people who abusively hide money overseas.

Governments' primary motivation at the moment is to make sure that no one is evading their tax obligations; for now, they don't care much if you pay taxes on your income, and then transfer after-tax earnings overseas.

In a way, though, their offshore crackdowns have become a[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Colombian investments, Perth Mint disclosure, Biking in Panama, Thai crime, Medellin for women

April 16, 2010
Medellin, Colombia

Yesterday I celebrated tax day by charging up my AMEX card on one of the IRS's official payment websites. There's nothing like earning travel points for keeping the flames of bureaucracy burning.

And speaking of travel, I should be headed to Ecuador this weekend where I plan on spending several days hopefully hopping around the country; more to follow next week.

On to this week's questions...

[...] Click here to continue reading

An alternative to prison…

April 15, 2010
Medellin, Colombia

Each year, the junior class at West Point must take a compulsory class in International Relations. Cadets call it "Sosh," and the major milestone of the class is a mini thesis that ties together current events and irrelevant IR theories.

If memory serves, the deadline is right around Thanksgiving break, and the paper must be turned in by 1600 hours sharp, not a minute after.

The exercise,[...] Click here to continue reading

Property and security in Medellin

April 14, 2010
Medellin, Colombia

In yesterday's letter, I told you why Medellin, Colombia might just be the greatest city in the world for some people. Well, today I had to send my assistant flowers because she got bombarded with so many subscriber emails questioning my sanity--

"You must be kidding! Medellin is the heart of the Columbian [SB: yes I know it's a misspelling] drug dealing racket!"

"Isn't Colombia the[...] Click here to continue reading