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

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

Your questions: Central American healthcare, Swiss banking, Panama foreclosures, Belize

January 29, 2010
Boquete, Panama

It's a beautiful day in the Panamanian highlands, and I'm taking the opportunity to explore the countryside for undervalued land deals.  The Chiriqui province of Panama, where I am now, is sort of like the Panamanian version of Texas-- fiercely independent and proud... locals consider themselves to be citizens of Chiriqui first, and Panamanians second.

As we've discussed in previous letters, I have been sincerely exploring the idea[...] Click here to continue reading

Why you don’t want to go at it alone

Blair is in her early 40s from Southern California.  She's intelligent, fairly aggressive, and an experienced financial executive at a mid-sized manufacturing company. In total, she has about $250,000 in savings, some of which she used to buy property in Panama.

She is single with no children and has been traveling to Panama to plant flags since 2006. She plans on (semi) retiring there in another 5-years and has unfortunately learned a lot of[...] Click here to continue reading

Panama vs. Costa Rica

January 27, 2010
El Valle, Panama

For a future expat, there are three places worth seriously considering in Central America-- Panama, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica.  Much is written about Panama, and rightfully so; the country is the most stable, economically liberal, and business oriented.

Not to be completely ignored, though, Costa Rica has its own merits that are certainly worth an honorable mention.

First, to understand Costa Rica, you need to get[...] Click here to continue reading

A sustainable community in Panama

January 26, 2010

Panama City, Panama

I've been on the ground in Panama for a week, and thus far, the majority of my time has been spent investigating the sustainable community concept that I wrote about several weeks ago.

To refresh your memory, the idea is to develop a small, cost-effective, subscribers-only expatriate community in Panama that focuses on sustainability over luxury. Frankly, other developers laugh when I discuss the concept and[...] Click here to continue reading

An important update on the Panama private storage facility

January 25, 2010

Panama City, Panama

A few weeks ago, I told you about a new private vault facility that was opening soon in Panama called "Best Safety Boxes." At the time, I had not personally checked out the facility but at least wanted to make you aware of its opening.

Late last week, I had the opportunity to meet with the owners and take a personal tour of the facility. In[...] Click here to continue reading

Gun laws in Panama

January 21, 2010
Panama City, Panama

Nazi leadership realized long ago that one of the chief ways you instill fear and obedience in the people is to take away their ability to fight back.  This is a time-tested method of making the people afraid of the government, and thus preventing the converse.

As such, I am frequently asked about gun control laws in many parts of the world... and while I am far[...] Click here to continue reading

The truth about Mexico

Mexico City (DF), Mexico

20 January 2010

My route to Panama has become quite slow and roundabout thanks to a bit of bad weather, and the fact that I gave up my seat on an oversold fight to accommodate a lady who was rushing home for a family emergency.

I am optimistic about this series of events, though, because I have the opportunity to once again put my boots on the ground[...] Click here to continue reading

Case Study: Multiple Flags in Venezuela

January 19, 2010
Mexico City (DF), Mexico

For such a pale skinned gringo, his Spanish was impeccable. We were both sitting in the business class lounge at the airport, and the fluidity with which he was prattling away in Spanish on his mobile phone caught my attention.

Ordinarily, given his very light complexion and European fashion sense, I would have guessed that he was Argentine; his accent, however, was devoid of the traditional[...] Click here to continue reading

Go to this city if you want to disappear

January 18, 2010

Tangier, Morocco

If you're on the run and looking for a place to lay low, one city you should consider is Tangier.

You have to start with a bit of history-- as far back as the days of the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, Tangier was an important commercial center due to its location at the entrance of the Mediterranean.

For the next 2,000 years, the city was conquered by[...] Click here to continue reading

How to make an extra $12,422,575.54

January 12, 2010
Estepona, Spain
There is really a great deal of information out there about offshore corporate structures... frankly it's mind numbing. Do a search for "offshore corporation" and you will undoubtedly return over a million websites promising you fast incorporation in Panama or the BVI, as well as a host of 'benefits' for that particular jurisdiction.

Are these benefits real? Does it make sense to structure a business overseas?

Yes. Planting[...] Click here to continue reading

I ignored the warning signs

It was an interesting weekend, to say the least, and what I am about to tell you is a true story.

I 'intended' to drive down to Gibraltar this weekend, hop a ferry for Morocco, and spend a few days in Africa. As it happened though, once the famous Rock of Gibraltar emerged in the horizon, I inadvertently turned my car north into the Sierra Bermeja mountains.

Down on the coast where I[...] Click here to continue reading

How to avoid living in a police state

If I have been too subtle in the past, let me be absolutely clear this afternoon: the time to do something, the time to take action to safeguard your future and your families livelihood, is NOW.

I'm more impassioned than usual this morning... and with reason.  Reluctantly, I tuned in to Team Obama's press briefing last night about the ongoing saga of the Nigerian underwear bomber.  Obama's is clearly trying to cultivate a fear[...] Click here to continue reading

Four jurisdictions to store gold overseas

January 7, 2010

Reporting from: Estepona, Spain

I've long believed that exchange controls will eventually return to the developed world, specifically in the United States and Western Europe. Struggling to find buyers of their debt, these governments will likely impose strict penalties for net outflows and retail currency transactions.

Unfortunately, most people will be too broke, too stupid, or too distracted to care that their savings are trapped in a rapidly depreciating[...] Click here to continue reading

How to value foreign property

January 6, 2010

Reporting from: Estepona, Spain

I'm sitting now in lovely Estepona, Spain-- a coastal town on the Mediterranean that experienced a massive property boom over the last decade.

The community I'm in is anchored by a five-star Ritz Carlton golf resort, and surrounded on all sides by the mountains or the ocean.  Ancient military tacticians marveled at the defensibility of such a position and likely did not envision it being[...] Click here to continue reading

You’re officially on your own…

January 5, 2010

Reporting from: Estepona, Spain

I've spent a lot of time lately sitting on the terrace of my coastal villa here in southern Spain, enjoying great conversations with friends, pondering the markets, and making significant investment and business decisions.

I've found that it's much easier to do this in a peaceful environment, free of the normal distractions that can invade our daily lives.

In fact, one of[...] Click here to continue reading

Multiple Flags Overview

Reporting from: Malaga, Spain

I do not have tremendous faith in world 'leaders' (as ridiculous a moniker as that is to use); last month's debacle in Copenhagen only further underscored how perverse and ineffective the existing political process is, and everyone is really starting to see it.

The Social Contract is deteriorating rapidly, and in the end, the one thing that you can count on is that people will ultimately do what they[...] Click here to continue reading

The end of the end is the beginning

I'm sitting on a sunny terrace overlooking the Gulf of Taranto in Italy's southern Puglia region, and it's absolutely spectacular. If the world goes to hell in 2010, this will be on my short list.

Puglia is Italy's breadbasket-- staple crops here grow like wild flowers due to the temperate climate and rich soil. It hardly rains here (this is a plus for me), yet ground water is abundant, so it's fairly easy to[...] Click here to continue reading

Subscriber Questions

I receive a lot of subscriber questions, and while I cannot answer them all, I wanted to specifically address three of them that key in on recurring themes in this community-- second citizenship, investing, international opportunities, corporate structures, banking, and gold/silver storage.

1) Paul asks-- "I was wondering what your 1st choice would be in setting up an online business offshore.  Which country would be best for business structure, hosting, and merchant accounts?"

[...] Click here to continue reading

Gold and the dollar: how to play it

Somewhere after paying over $100 for a tank of gas, $35 for a haircut, and $15 for a fast food sandwich, it dawned on me last week.  The euro is terribly overpriced against the dollar.

I wrote about this extensively last week, arguing that, because of a litany of taxes and fees, and due to overselling of the dollar, the euro zone is excessively expensive in dollar terms. Clearly there needs to be an[...] Click here to continue reading

Wednesday and Thursday (December 16-17) Posts

In my Sovereign Man daily e-letter, I like to discuss real solutions to the issues and challenges we all face... often these solutions include things like business opportunities overseas, great investment ideas, and profiles of different foreign countries.

Occasionally, the solutions that I present are a bit... sensitive.  Today and tomorrow I am discussing two such topics, including unique tax strategies and second passport opportunities.

Neither one of these topics is something that[...] Click here to continue reading

Planting your electronic flag

We all know that Google is in bed with the government... I suppose it's nice that CEO Eric Schmidt is at least open about it.

In a recent interview with CNBC, Schmidt effectively admits that Google archives everything about a user-- web searches (google), email and contact lists (gmail), online office documents (google docs), photographs (picasa), text and voice messages (google voice), and even a user's current location (google maps).

The depth of[...] Click here to continue reading

Capital controls are a foregone conclusion

So much for BMW's run-flat tires. Believe it or not, I'm actually sitting on the side of the A3 motorway in central Germany, about halfway between Frankfurt and Munich, waiting for the tow-truck to arrive. 

Apparently you're supposed to be able to drive on these tires even when they're flat... and with such confidence in their country's manufacturing capabilities, the German rental car company didn't bother providing me with a spare.  Call me old-fashioned,[...] Click here to continue reading

Six speeding tickets for a second passport

I spent a couple of days this week in a fast BMW with Matt, my friend and business partner. We had a meeting in southern Spain yesterday with a key figure in the world of second passports, and we raced at speeds up to 250 km/h so that we could make the meeting and bring you some tremendously valuable information.

It came at a price-- six speeding tickets in total, mostly across the south[...] Click here to continue reading

A way to play rising taxes and a dollar correction

It took three speeding tickets in the south of France on the way from Monaco to Barcelona, but we made it to Spain late yesterday evening.  I had forgotten how expensive it is to drive in France. Fuel is among the most expensive in Europe thanks to a series of extraordinarily high taxes.

Gasoline, as people often forget, is a fungible commodity... in its pure form it should cost the same everywhere because it[...] Click here to continue reading