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: 2339

Latest Articles

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

*** Today's content is for subscriber's only. If you'd like to receive a copy of this letter, make sure you sign up for Notes from the Field. Click here to continue reading

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

*** Today's letter is being withheld from the public and only being sent to email subscribers of Notes from the Field. *** Click here to continue reading

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

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