Latest Articles

And they say there’s no inflation…

March 30, 2012
Santiago, Chile

One the more interesting investments I've made over the last few years was buying a sizeable chunk of a successful baby products company; our products sell around the world and in top retailers like Target, Babies R Us, Bed Bath and Beyond, etc.

The managing partner forwarded me a letter yesterday from one of our international manufacturing agents; the letter explained that, over the last two years, prices[...] Click here to continue reading

6 reasons why you need a second passport

It wasn't too long ago that nearly every human being lived their entire lives without traveling more than 10-miles from home. For the small handful of people who actually did venture out, you could make it across the globe with no official documents whatsoever.

This began to change rapidly in the 1920s. The newly formed League of Nations began meddling in the business of international travel and worked to standardize an international identification document[...] Click here to continue reading

Are there any currencies backed by gold?

March 28, 2012
Santiago, Chile


That's the only way to describe the reaction that future historians will have when they look back and study the utter perversion that is our global financial system.

We live in a time when a tiny handful of people have their fingers on a button that can conjure trillions of dollars, euro, yen, and renminbi out of thin air. In the United States, it comes down[...] Click here to continue reading

Digging ourselves out of the rubble…

March 27, 2012
Santiago, Chile

As you may be aware, there were two reasonably strong earthquakes in central Chile over the weekend. I think we must have the kindest subscribers on the planet, because our customer service team had a flood of well-wishing emails and inquiries to make sure everything was OK.

Most people seemed to have the idea that we were digging ourselves out of rubble, that entire cities lay waste in[...] Click here to continue reading

“We have entered the most favourable era for gold prices in our lifetime…”

March 26, 2012
London, England

[Editor's note: Tim Price, a frequent Sovereign Man contributor and Director of Investment at PFP Wealth Management in London, is filling in for Simon today.]

Acclaimed screenwriter William Goldman (The Princess Bride, among many others) famously began his autobiography with three telling words: "Nobody Knows Anything."

The same logic would seem to apply to much conventional reporting of the financial markets. Any investor looking for informed analysis[...] Click here to continue reading

Five things you need to know before filing your taxes

March 22, 2012
Santiago, Chile

If you're a US taxpayer, you'll want to heed the following before dropping off your 1040 this year.

You see, in 2010, Congress and President Obama passed a series of new rules known as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, or FATCA. FATCA affects every US taxpayer who does anything overseas, as well as every single financial institution on the planet. It may be the most arrogant piece[...] Click here to continue reading

Italy to launch Skynet tax collection system after 197% YoY borrowing increase

March 21, 2012
Santiago, Chile

This is something out of an Orwellian science fiction movie.

The Italian tax authorities are now field testing a new system called 'redditometro', a database that automatically collects and analyzes taxpayers' tax data vs. spending data based on automated collection of credit card and banking information.

For example, if the credit card reports show that you have an expensive gym membership... or perhaps you bought[...] Click here to continue reading

What is President Obama so afraid of?

March 20, 2012
Santiago, Chile

Quietly, and with little fanfare, President Obama signed a "National Defense Resources Preparedness" Executive Order on Friday. As the name suggests, the order intends to shore up the country's national defense resources in advance of a national emergency.

To be fair, this is not the first time that such an order has been written. Presidents Bush (II), Clinton, Reagan, and even Eisenhower provided directives in the same spirit[...] Click here to continue reading

Trust me, this is good news

March 19, 2012
Talca, Chile

Here's the scene. It was an overcast day in southern England last March. That is to say, a normal day in southern England.

Attempting to retrieve something that had blown into the water, 41-year old Simon Burgess slipped and fell into a 3 1/2 foot-deep pond. He then suffered a seizure. His body, lying motionless and face down in the water, was spotted at 12:15pm by a witness[...]

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Got Grandparents? You could become an Irish citizen.

March 15, 2012
Santiago, Chile

In advance of St. Patrick's day coming up this weekend, I thought I'd spend some time today talking about the second best thing to come out of Ireland-- its nationality law.

There's no insurance policy quite like having a second citizenship. Sure, it would be great if we could roam around the world without having to brand ourselves by arbitrary political boundaries. I'm Mexican. You're Canadian. He's British.[...] Click here to continue reading

Did you make 18% with us since December?

March 14, 2012
Manila, Philippines

[Editor’s note: Sovereign Man Chief Investment Strategist Tim Staermose is filling in for Simon today.]

Back in mid-December, I called buying platinum the "most obvious trade in precious metals."  I pointed out that it had fallen all the way to $1,440 per ounce and was selling for well under the price of gold, which was at $1,613 per ounce at the time.

I predicted that it wouldn't[...] Click here to continue reading

A bit of humor amid the financial insanity

March 13, 2012
London, England

[Editor's note: Tim Price, a frequent Sovereign Man contributor and Director of Investment at PFP Wealth Management in London, is filling in for Simon today.]

“Investors back historic Greek debt swap” -    FT headline 9.3.2012.

BANK, n. Bottomless cavity in the ground that sucks in money and the unwary.
I had quite a bit of money but then I put it in the bank.

BOND, n.[...] Click here to continue reading

An analysis of international diversification in Panama

March 12, 2012
Caracas, Venezuela
Panama has become a popular place for expats to plant flags and diversify internationally. And with good reason-- the country has had a lot to offer. But quite a bit has changed over the years, and I thought it important to spend a few minutes today reviewing some of Panama's most prominent international diversification options.
Banking: There are better options if you're not living or doing business in Panama

[...] Click here to continue reading

Infrastructure projects in Panama equivalent to $8 trillion in the US

March 8, 2012
Panama City, Panama

I had dinner the other night with a bank executive in charge of government finance who told me that the aggregate spend of all the infrastructure projects in Panama totals more than $13 billion. This is roughly 50% of the entire Panamanian economy.

The equivalent in the United States would be the government announcing a 'Rebuild America' infrastructure spending initiative in the range of $8 TRILLION! No[...] Click here to continue reading

A dollar mutiny has broken out in the global currency wars

March 8, 2012
Panama City, Panama

I've been having breakfast at Cafe Manolo's ever since I started coming to Panama, going on ten years now. They make the best 'batido' ever... it's sort of like a milk shake crossed with a fruit smoothie. And it used to be ridiculously cheap. Not anymore.

Economists use a term 'menu costs' to explain why retail prices are 'sticky' and resistant to change. The analogy is that,[...] Click here to continue reading

One of the most overlooked aspects of the financial crisis…

March 7, 2012
London, England

[Editor's note: Tim Price, a frequent Sovereign Man contributor and Director of Investment at PFP Wealth Management in London, is filling in for Simon today.]

An engineer, a biologist and an economist are washed ashore on a desert island. After a few days without food they are starving. Eventually, they stumble on a can of beans on the beach.

They spend a few minutes considering how they[...] Click here to continue reading

Hugo Chavez: Fighting crime by disarming innocent people

March 6, 2012
Caracas, Venezuela

With an annual murder rate estimated as high as 67 homicides per every 100,000 inhabitants in his country, Hugo Chavez is about to show the world that he's tough on crime. At least, the non-governmental kind.

Chavez's government claims that 98% of the homicides in Venezuela involve firearms. His solution? Restrict firearm ownership.

In recent remarks to the Latin American Herald Tribune, Venezuelan Interior and Justice Minister[...] Click here to continue reading

If you had to disappear, where would you go?

March 5, 2012
Caracas, Venezuela

Here's a fun question to ask yourself: if you had to disappear and live out the rest of your days below the radar, where would you go?

Think about it seriously for a moment... it's an interesting thought experiment. Assuming you had a dream team of angry creditors, bounty hunters, private investigators, and/or government agents chasing after you, where would you go?

There are several countries where[...] Click here to continue reading

Because you just never know what stupid rule tomorrow will bring…

March 2, 2012
Santiago, Chile

When I was a kid, I remember watching that Schoolhouse Rock cartoon about how a bill becomes a law. That single cartoon probably brainwashed three generations of children into believing in the checks and balances fantasy of the US federal government.

The reality is what we see everywhere today-- self-regulating, self-legislating executive agencies with nearly unlimited scope and authority. Even the most mundane offices within the Fish[...]

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Desperate British government launches task force against Flea Markets

Date: March 1, 2012
Reporting From: Santiago, Chile


Earlier this week, the British government announced that Barclays PLC, one of Britain's oldest and largest banks, was facing an $800 million penalty for engaging in a tax avoidance scheme. Barclays had been exploiting loopholes in legislation in order to avoid paying a higher tax rate, and the government is now drafting legislation to close these loopholes.

Hang on a sec. Full stop.

[...] Click here to continue reading