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.
I can barely type today... I'm actually one-handing it this morning. Why? Because my other hand is thrust victoriously in the air celebrating the renomination of Comrade Bernanke to his post at the Federal Reserve.
Yes, the man who has overseen the most unprecedented expansion of the central bank's balance sheet in history is going to get a few more years in the saddle.
"Simon, I really want to leave the country, but where should I go?"
Quite literally, there is a world of possibilities out there, each full of richness and opportunity. But as you could imagine, it depends on what kind of person you are. What would be a great expat haven for some seems like a hellish nightmare to others.
I received quite a few interesting comments this week (many of which I kept private at the request of the sender). Remember, posting a comment to the site is the best way to reach me: I read all of them personally. Email goes to support staff.
- SOLDIERS IN THE STREETS-
Kelly asked a great question on Tuesday-- is there any country in the world that has the total package?
She works the graveyard shift at a Florida motel off Interstate 75... but she doesn't seem to mind much. A rather buxom blond with more curves than hard angles, Stephanie would definitely be considered a "people's person" and enjoys meeting so many out-of-towners.
Friendly and outgoing, she's also incredibly smart... which is probably why she was such a great commercial real estate (CRE) agent.
When I think about Asia growth and investment opportunities, places like Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and even the Philippines come to mind. But lately, in my regular discussions with key Asia contacts-- brokers, sovereign wealth fund analysts, etc., one place keeps coming up again and again.
Mongolia is one of the largest, most resource rich countries in the world with a population smaller than Panama-- that's[...] Click here to continue reading
I'm really disturbed by what's happening in Alabama.
You've probably heard-- Jefferson County/Birmingham's board of knucklehead politicians has managed to drive local finances into the ground over the last few years. Faced with unserviceable debt and a string of large losses from complex derivative instruments, the county is effectively bankrupt.
The good news is that the government is being forced to make deep, deep budget cuts, including 'essential services.' Personally, I have no[...] Click here to continue reading
For Latin Americans, Miami has been a lot of things-- the major financial center, the cultural Mecca, prime tourist destination, the business capital, and a symbol of international success.
The city made its riches and opportunities available to all nationalities, reaching the point during the most recent real estate boom where one could become financially successful and never speak a word of English.
I'm taking a quick break in Miami to see friends and family before heading down south again to dive head first into a large, complicated, and very exciting business dealing... so next week I will be writing to you from Panama once again.
While I am in Panama I plan on putting the finishing touches on the Black Paper that I have mentioned before-- this will be a "who's who" list of banks, brokers,[...] Click here to continue reading
Did you ever notice that when you put the words "The" and "IRS" together it spells "Theirs" ? How appropriate.
One of "Theirs" initiatives that I pay attention to is its voluntary disclosure program. This program provides steps for people who have not reported overseas income (and bank accounts) to come clean without criminal penalty.
It's no secret that China is already starting to dominate the world economy.
Understanding the country, its culture, and its economic infrastructure, however, is a daunting task, particularly for outsiders. Official reports and media accounts are hardly worth basing an investment opinion on-- it's critical to have boots on the ground.
I've learned through a great deal of experience over the last several years about travel. People often ask me about my travel habits because I do so much of it... and one of the common questions I get is "How much do you spend each year on travel???"
The link between the fate of Latvia and the stock price of Sweden's major banks became even more apparent this week. On Monday, Latvia's government announced that it had rejected a bailout deal with the IMF, spurring new concerns of devaluation.
In response, investors sold off shares of Sweden's Swedbank to the tune of a 5% decline. The market sees these two parties as inextricably linked: as Latvia[...] Click here to continue reading
As much as I love the city, I'm here in Vienna today on a mission-- gold storage. After yesterday's missive about Panamanian safety deposit boxes, I thought it appropriate to follow-up with a couple of strong solutions for offshore gold storage, and Austria certainly fits the bill.
First of all, if you love mountains, you definitely need to check out Austria. The Austrian Alps command some of the most breathtaking views in the world,[...] Click here to continue reading
Something is afoot in Panama that I want to tell you about.
Several banks, including Banvivienda and HSBC, have recently announced that they will discontinue renting safety deposit boxes. Customers who currently rent boxes will have until the end of the year to vacate their belongings.
Furthermore, some banks that formerly used to work with US customers, including Banco General, Credicorp, and Global Bank, will no longer open accounts for Americans unless they[...] Click here to continue reading
Remember that Croatian commando-turned-entrepreneur from dinner last night?
Well it turns out he's an aerobatic stunt pilot too... he's got an old Soviet-made aircraft that is only designed to do one thing-- be as unstable as possible. It does the trick.
This morning around 11am Central European Time, we met at a private airfield outside of Zagreb. He strapped me in to the cockpit, took me up to about 2,500 feet, and proceeded[...] Click here to continue reading
Croatia, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, and the drive down here has been spectacular. From Budapest, the drive to Croatia took me south along highway M7, which arcs gently across Hungary's rolling hills and hot springs.
But what brings me here is not the beauty of the drive, nor the sun-seeking Europeans on vacation... I came to town to visit a friend of mine who has[...] Click here to continue reading
Nationalized healthcare doesn't work, and I'll tell you why:
I hold as my personal mantra in life that governments screw up everything they touch... and this goes for all governments, not just the United States Congress.
As I travel the world looking for great opportunities, I always try to understand the quality and efficiency of the local healthcare system. Sometimes I even go through it myself. My conclusion? Most, if not all public[...] Click here to continue reading
Poland-- it's a beautiful, inexpensive country with a stable economy, gorgeous women, and fantastic food... so what am I doing here exactly?
Looking for citizenship.
The country has been dominated, broken apart, and put back together so many times, Poland actually has multiple nationality laws on the books for former migrants, refugees, and their descendants to reclaim citizenship. The government recognizes that many Poles were coerced to give up their citizenship, or they[...] Click here to continue reading
The premise is simple. If a frog is placed in a pot of water that is already boiling, it will immediately sense danger and jump out, relatively unscathed. If it is placed in a pot of cool water, the frog will happily stay in the pot while it is slowly heated to a boil. By the time the frog realizes the danger, it is too[...] Click here to continue reading
A final note on Latvia today before I put the Baltics to bed for now--
Yesterday I argued that Latvia is definitely headed for devaluation, and that European governments are practically bending over backwards to make sure we know about it.
In comments yesterday, the astute Mr. Marriott pointed out that the grey economy is now flourishing in Latvia; this is undeniably true, and we see evidence of dark economies around the world[...] Click here to continue reading
I found out this weekend that Paul Krugman is wrong about Latvia.
For months, mainstream luminaries like Krugman have been telling me that Latvia is the next Argentina, and that the country is on the verge of economic collapse... wait, stop-- what does this even mean? Have the lights suddenly gone out? is the garbage is piling up in the streets? has McDonalds stopped selling Big Macs?
Greetings-- lots of questions this week so I'm going to jump right into it: MARK NESTMANN INTERVIEW
Thanks for the emails and comments from yesterday's Nestmann interview, I'll try to do more things like this... and thanks to Matt for doing such a great job on the interview. The most common question was whether there is a great book like Nestmann's Lifeboat Strategy specifically for Canadians.
Making money is large part of achieving independence and living free.
In my own life, I focus on select entrepreneurial ventures to generate capital, and specific investments which subsequently grow that capital. My investment habits might be best described as 'peculiar,' because, believe it or not, I do not have a strong risk tolerance when it comes to my money:
Today I wanted to get down to the business of answering some of your questions from earlier this week:
First of all, I apologize if I failed to make things clear when I started this letter: I am no longer part of Without Borders; Notes from the Field is not affiliated with Casey Research or Without Borders. Furthermore, Notes is free and not tied to any other subscription that you might have.
Yesterday I wrote to you about Lithuania and all the great things it has to offer-- it's inexpensive, has second citizenship, a low flat tax, and beautiful women. These are all great reasons to visit from time to time (and obtain a passport if you are so fortunate), but today I want to tell you why you should not invest any money here, at least not for now.
About a month ago I was attending a private, invitation-only meeting with some of the finest unconventional minds in finance. We gathered for three days at a luxurious oceanside resort on the Maryland coast to have an open exchange of ideas, debate our philosophies, and play poker 'til dawn. Lobo Tigre, editor of the International Speculator and my former colleague at Casey Research, approached me with an interesting proposition on the last day.