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: 2306

Latest Articles

Which countries will compete for you

March 24, 2010
Hong Kong, SAR

One of the worst things that can happen to a country is to experience a brain-drain.  The loss of productive people who create new technologies and companies means the loss of the jobs and wealth that they create.

The long-term aggregate effects of this can be truly devastating, and history provides no shortage of examples.

By nature, though, people are generally creatures of habit-- inert beings.[...] Click here to continue reading

Banking and Gold Storage in Hong Kong

March 23, 2010
Hong Kong, SAR

The banking system in Hong Kong is one of the most advanced in the world, and if you're shopping around for a place to plant a banking flag, you should definitely consider it.

As a jurisdiction, Hong Kong was effectively founded and built into a global financial center for the sole purpose of bridging east and west. Today, as Asia has grown into an economic powerhouse, Hong[...] Click here to continue reading

7 reasons why you should consider Malaysia

March 22, 2010
Hong Kong, SAR

If you have been considering planting a flag somewhere in Asia, I think you should really consider Malaysia. I briefly discussed the country in Friday's Q&A updates, but I wanted to dedicate a full letter on the subject because I really think the country is worthy of your attention.

1) Malaysia is cheap... it's one of the cheapest countries in the world, actually, on par with the[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: RFID chips, moving retirement funds, offshore businesses, Panamanian citizenship

March 19, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

My time here in Thailand is finally coming to an end, at least for now. On Monday morning, after I stop by the US embassy to pick up my renewed passport, I'll be headed to Hong Kong.

I should briefly mention something about passports. Starting in 2007, the US government began manufacturing all new passports with RFID chips-- small devices which record and transmit data.

Malaysia was[...] Click here to continue reading

What a river of blood says about safety

March 18, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

Something interest happened this week in Thailand that I think says a lot about the country and its people.

For the last several months... well, years, actually... a large group of organized protesters has stepped up its calls for the current government of Thailand to step down. The group is known as the "Red Shirts" for the uniform they wear, and their top priority is to have open[...] Click here to continue reading

A new immigration category in New Zealand

March 17, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

In response to your feedback on last week's missive about New Zealand, I've once again asked my friend Mark, who is living there locally now, to pen a few words about the country's immigration policies in response to your questions:

First off, thanks to all of Simon's readers for the feedback. I need to point out that I am not a licensed immigration professional. The government of New[...] Click here to continue reading

Have an IRA? Try this…

March 16, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

Several months ago, I told you about a strategy for building substantial wealth and planting an important flag with your Individual Retirement Account.

There are a few trillion dollars worth of retirement savings trapped in the United States, the vast majority of which is eeking out inadequate returns that make the money managers rich and leave the rest of us grateful for crumbs.

With this important strategy,[...] Click here to continue reading

Why gold is not a bubble

March 15, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

I was laying in bed sick recently watching Conan the Barbarian... yes I admit it. Some people eat chicken soup, I drown myself in cheesy Hollywood violence.

If you haven't see it, you're not missing much of a plot-- Arnold Schwarzenegger at his physical prime wields a big sword and searches for treasure to plunder.

As I watched the Governator decapitate his foes two at a time,[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Seychelles,, Italian passport, Thai hospitals

March 12, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

Greetings once again from the land of smiles.

First of all, I really appreciate all the responses after yesterday's letter in which I announced that I will be speaking at the upcoming Casey Research Crisis and Opportunity Summit. I'm really looking forward to meeting with so many of you in Las Vegas.

For some reason, a few subscribers had difficulty with the link that gives more information[...] Click here to continue reading

Coming to America… will you join me?

March 11, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

Today I want to make an important announcement in the hopes that you will join me in a few weeks time.

If you've been following this missive for any period of time, you know that I spend a lot of time all over the world, but only very rarely do I spend time in the U.S.

With so many great and interesting places I love around the[...] Click here to continue reading

How to invest like an “unprincipled speculator”

March 10, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

Yesterday I apparently declared a premature end to major combat operations against the virus that has invaded my body.  Maybe it was just the celebratory Mexican food I ate last night to commemorate the end of my 4-day sickness, but I now seem to be experiencing my own W-shaped recovery.

Always the optimist, though, I'm actually grateful for a few things; namely, I've been too consumed with the[...] Click here to continue reading

Is New Zealand all hype?

March 9, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

First of all, thanks for all the well-wishes for my speedy recovery. I'm feeling much better today, no doubt due to this exotic root that my ladies have been giving me. I haven't asked what it is yet, but rest assured I will be traveling with it from now on.

Since I'm still a bit groggy from my illness, though, I thought today would be the perfect time[...] Click here to continue reading

Up close and personal with Thai healthcare

March 8, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

I managed to pick up some nasty bug that has knocked me into next Tuesday... But while I feel completely miserable at the moment, this little bacterial bout has given me the opportunity to experience, first-hand, the joys of the Thai medical system.

First, doctors make house calls. When you're as sick as I am, the last thing you want to do is get dressed, sit in the[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: An Emergency passport? European citizenship; foreign banking rules; walking away

March 5, 2010
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Greetings from Malaysia, where I'm spending an extended weekend before heading briefly to Singapore on business.  I'll tell you more about the country next week... but if you're interested in Asia, it should definitely be on your radar.

Before turning to this week's questions, I wanted to give you a quick update on the job posting from a few weeks ago.  Ordinarily, Matt and I would have[...] Click here to continue reading

The cost of being a contrarian for contrarian’s sake

March 4, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

It wasn't too long ago that there was a concrete dividing line down the center of Europe with large scale nukes pointed at both ends. It wasn't long before that when two sides were battling it out in Normandy, or in the trenches before that.

Throughout the last thousand or so years, in fact, there are few and short-lived periods of peace among European countries. Just in the[...] Click here to continue reading

The best places in the world to meet like-minded expats

March 3, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

One of reasons that a lot of people are hesitant about making a move overseas is because they're concerned about being isolated. The world can be a cruel place, especially to newbies.

Sure there are the nomads out there who want to be left alone with their little slice of paradise in the middle of nowhere... but most people crave some human interaction from time to time, especially[...] Click here to continue reading

A simple shortcut for a foreign bank account

Thanks to completely draconian US-led regulation, opening a bank account anywhere is about as fun as a barium enema.  Opening a foreign bank account can be an even greater nightmare.

Most of the time, a foreign bank will want you standing there, in person, to open an account, as well as to provide a seemingly endless array of notarized documents, stamped papers, and letters of reference.

Trust me, it's not their preference either...[...] Click here to continue reading

Some Low Hanging Investment Fruit

March 1, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

There's something not right with the world.

Yes, I'm dismayed by this weekend's earthquake in Chile (I really adore the country), and am quite disgusted by the US government's extension of the PATRIOT Act. Fortunately, I know the Chileans will pull through just fine, and the US government will eventually collapse under its own weight.

What's really grabbing my attention right now is what's happening in the[...] Click here to continue reading

Gold in Uruguay, Swiss francs, Polish citizenship, Moody’s

February 26, 2010
Bangkok, Thailand

It's "Judgment Day" in Thailand. I wrote about this on Monday-- a Thai high court will rule today on the disposition of ousted former PM Thaksin Shinawatra's frozen assets valued at several billion dollars.

According to the mainstream media, the entire country is supposed to erupt in chaotic and violent protests today. Even BloombergTV, which I normally respect, has been running sensationalized stock footage of fires, vandalism, and[...] Click here to continue reading

Administrative Note

The daily articles for February 24, 2010 and February 25, 2010 will not be posted to the website; they will only be circulated to email subscribers. Make sure you receive these articles by signing up for my daily e-letter, Notes from the Field. Click here to continue reading

Second passports and citizenship

February 23, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

Throughout our conversations, we have routinely discussed the importance of planting multiple flags.

If you live, work, bank, invest, own a business, and hold your assets in the same country of your citizenship, you are putting all of your eggs in one basket, and once that basket heads in the wrong direction, you can kiss your assets goodbye.

There are nearly infinite possibilities that pose substantial risks[...] Click here to continue reading

In Thailand, they sell T-shirts at the revolution

February 22, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

I was in the back of a black sedan on Friday morning speeding along Highway 7 from Pattaya to Bangkok when my driver's phone rang. He picked up, jabbered for a few seconds, and then said to me:

"Sir, my friend call me from Bangkok; he say big protests in city, we need to go around."

"No chance--" I replied. "Let's go see how serious they are[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Jobs update, a dollar crisis, gold banking in Singapore, sustainable community

February 19, 2010
Bangkok, Thailand

I really need to start out today's letter by expressing how truly humbled I am to be part of such a fantastic community.

Matt and I have spent much of the last few days combing through resumes (200+ so far) for the job openings that I posted on Monday, and the caliber of talent and energy is really impressive.

Applicants vary in age from 17 to 70.[...] Click here to continue reading

This survey will make you want to leave immediately

February 17, 2010
Bangkok, Thailand

I couldn't believe what I was hearing... and I found myself wondering out loud- "Are these people insane??"

Apparently, yes.

I was watching Richard Edelman this morning on Bloomberg Television discussing the latest results of his research and PR firm's annual "trust survey."  Edelman takes a scientific poll each year, drawing on a global pool of educated, well-informed people from G20 nations.

The theme is always[...] Click here to continue reading

Making money from junkies

February 16, 2010
Bangkok, Thailand

The popular press has been bandying a lot of cute acronyms for the 'sick' European countries. I have seen PIIGS, STUPIDs, and DUHs... and while the individual circumstances of each country are different, they all have one thing in common--

Their obligations far exceed their assets, and they have to borrow money just to pay interest on the money that they've already borrowed.

We don't need a[...] Click here to continue reading

Questions: Travel, buying property, moving gold, second passports

February 12, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

I'm happy to report that I seem to be in the final throes of my Asian jet lag-- I finally managed to go to bed and wake up at a reasonable hour.

I appreciate the emails that I received giving me advice about how to deal with it more effectively... honestly though, I think time is the best remedy for everything.  With jetlag, I take a "sleep when[...] Click here to continue reading

Lessons from the intelligence business

February 11, 2010
Bangkok, Thailand

Years ago, when I was a bright-eyed lieutenant anxious to defend the world against evil and tyranny, the government decided to ship me off to become an intelligence officer.

I remember a lot of the classroom training, learning about the enemy's order of battle and maneuver capabilities. Ironically, we were still studying Soviet tactics at the time, even though the Berlin Wall had become a tourist attraction over[...] Click here to continue reading

In Asia, it’s all about who you know

February 10, 2010
Pattaya, Thailand

A few months ago I wrote a short series about better networking. The theme was simple: "who you know" absolutely, positively counts, and getting ahead often requires investing in relationships.

I thought the topic was so important that I wrote a free 20-page special report on the subject. I call the concept "Network Infiltration," and discussed how to infiltrate any network, personal or professional, by following some core[...] Click here to continue reading

The best way to beat inflation and deflation

February 9, 2010
Bangkok, Thailand

Money is just a tool... nothing more. It's not the only tool, but it's certainly a useful one that can be leveraged to acquire more freedom; we can trade money for time, money for health, money for experience, and money for assets that safeguard ourselves and our families.

As such, it certainly behooves any free individual to have some means to generate capital-- this can often be through[...] Click here to continue reading

Setting the stage for the new America

February 8, 2010
Bangkok, Thailand

I've tried just about everything in the book... but I've never figured out a way to beat Asian jet lag. I landed in Thailand very late last night, and despite having hardly slept on the flight, I couldn't manage to fall asleep.

The good news is that I was still awake to watch the Superbowl this morning, which kicked off at 6:30am local time. The bad news is[...] Click here to continue reading

Your questions: anarchy, healthcare, mortgages, China

February 5, 2010
Mexico City, Mexico

Greetings once again from Mexico; I'm sure many who listen to the mainstream press would be amazed to find that I have spent 48 hours on the ground here with nary a swine flu infection nor simple mugging to report.

I did, however, miss my flight to Canada.

What can I say... Mexico City traffic has got to be the most dangerous thing in this country.[...] Click here to continue reading

Freedom isn’t free

February 4, 2010

Teotihuacan, Mexico

Today I'm writing to you from the base of an ancient, Pre-Colombian pyramid in Central Mexico that pre-dates the Aztecs. Frankly this wasn't part of my plan at all, but the reason I ended up here has a lot to do with living free.

Freedom is something that I think all people want more of in their lives-- freedom of choice, freedom from financial constraints, freedom from[...] Click here to continue reading

Three real estate traps in Panama

February 3, 2010
Panama City, Panama

Panama is a popular destination for expats, and for good reason. But there are some critical property traps that you should be aware of if you’re looking to buy.

The first trap to watch out for is the tax law; for years, the government stimulated the real estate industry by promising property tax exoneration for up to 20-years. In order to qualify, a project must have been[...] Click here to continue reading

Business opportunities in Panama

February 2, 2010

Panama City, Panama

I see a lot of opportunity in Panama right now for entrepreneurs and small businesses; in fact, I see more opportunity here than in just about every other country in the western hemisphere with few exceptions.


Panama has two strong emerging consumer markets.

The first is the obvious low hanging fruit: foreigners. Their ranks in Panama are growing by the day, swelling the[...] Click here to continue reading

The Panama You Can’t Find In Panama City

February 1, 2010
Boquete, Panama

It's almost like you're not in Panama.

Isolated in the Chiriqui highlands of Panama's western-most province, the town of Boquete might as well be in a different country.  Practically all you hear is English-- the local Panamanians have excellent language skills, and there are more gringos per capita here than just about any other place in Panama.

To give you an idea of what I'm talking about,[...] Click here to continue reading