What is it that drives the expatriate mindset? What makes someone suddenly decide one day that they want to move to live abroad? Is it a financial factor – after all there’s sufficient evidence out there that suggests a high proportion of expat professionals do earn and save more when they relocate abroad. Or is it more about the lifestyle? All expats seem to want to find a better work/life balance, some more sunshine and free time…
In our humble opinion at Shelter Offshore, whilst all of these mentioned factors are drivers supporting an expatriate’s decision to relocate, the bottom line fundamental that’s actually the number one reason why people move abroad is ‘happiness’ – i.e., we all have our own reasons for making the move, but in so doing we’re all seeking greater happiness.
Now, for you that could be greater happiness through financial security, greater happiness from warmer weather and better health, or greater happiness from having more free time to spend with your family perhaps. So, if you’re up for finding happier days when living abroad, we’re going to introduce you to the 5 countries that should be on top of your list to consider when choosing the right place to live abroad where you’ll be potentially ‘guaranteed’ a happier way of life!
1) Happier Living in New Zealand
- New Zealand ranks very highly in the potential happiness stakes. The quality of life/cost of living balance is fair meaning that you don’t have to work ridiculously long hours to achieve a decent standard of living. Real estate values haven’t rocketed as high as Britain’s did in direct comparison, making it still a nation where you can afford a decent home – and the natural environment in New Zealand is enough to lift your spirits on a daily basis!
You just have to take a short trip even from the centre of the busiest towns and cities and you find wild and stunning landscapes that make you feel free and removed from the pressures of everyday life. Healthcare and education standards are high – which research has shown are fundamentally important as underlying factors for happiness to thrive. What’s more, there’s an active employment market, skills based immigration and opportunities in New Zealand – despite the global recession.
Crime figures are low, the weather can be very good in the summer months, and generally the New Zealand attitude to life is a healthy one – all factors that stack up in favour of New Zealand being a safe choice for those seeking greater happiness from their new life abroad.
2) Could You Find Happiness Living in Argentina?
- Argentina is a very interesting, up and coming expatriate long-haul haunt. We’ve all heard about Brazil’s beaches and fabulous weather making for a great way of life and many of us would consider making the flight that far – but fly for a while longer and you end up in Argentina where the way of life is arguably so much better balanced than in Brazil. In Argentina the cost of living is incredibly low for day to day essentials – and property is a fraction of the price of what it is in Brazil’s most popular hotspots.
In Argentina you can buy a ranch or a vineyard, a villa with a pool or a mansion in the suburbs of highly sophisticated cities – all for relative peanuts. You have opportunities aplenty as this nation slowly awakens to its tourism potential, and the people are fun, passionate, beautiful and welcoming. If you want a refreshing change and a chance for happiness on a new scale – perhaps you should consider Argentina?
3) Happiest of all Living in France?
- France could actually be the perfect choice for those who want to be happier in their life, but who have to maintain ties and retain contact with the UK. It’s far enough away to have a different climate, different scenery, a different language, culture and history, but it’s close enough to reach out and almost touch from the shores of the UK! In France there are parts of the country where the sun almost always shines too!
It’s a land of fine food and wine, long lunch breaks, lazy days, it’s a nation where the people enjoy the finer things and you’re encouraged to join them. Properties are still cheap in rural areas, the cost of living in terms of daily essentials is very low, and more and more Brits annually make the move and live their dream of a much better life in France – what’s stopping you joining them?
4) Would You be Happier Living in Belize?
- Long considered by our American cousins to offer a fantastic way of life, Belize is finally coming on to Britons’ radars as a country where there is a wonderful balance between affordability and happiness! Belize is cheap, made more so by the tax breaks available to retirees. Belize is also beautiful, tropical, sun-kissed and exotic. It’s full of beautiful, happy people for whom working for a living is really secondary to having a great time and enjoying this wonderful life of ours!
You can enjoy the most laid back, yet decent standard of living in Belize on very little money. With a bit more in your pocket you can upgrade your accommodation to luxury and live the life of Riley, (who is that Riley person anyway?), and awaken every day to the rainforests and the white sandy beaches, the beautiful birds and the rare yet abundant flora.
Belize is worth a look – it’s the kind of nation that gets you hooked upon arrival – once see, never forgotten – and perhaps your happiness paradise on this earth?
5) Or Perhaps You’d be Happier Living in Denmark
- Our final choice is Denmark – perhaps an unusual addition to the list you might think. But no, because apparently, according to a British analytic social psychologist, it’s the happiest place to live on earth! The Danes are the happiest people, and if you go and join them in their wonderful country, you too could be as happy as them!
The reason they are so content with life is because their way of life and standard of living is very high. Healthcare standards and education in Denmark are both excellent…and apparently, as mentioned earlier, these are really fundamentally important for happiness. Other factors considered likely to be reasons why Danes report being so happy include their earning power, the fact their nation is not overcrowded, there are no stressors such as difficult commute times with the flow of traffic, and infrastructure and services in Denmark just work…thus removing swathes of frustration from people’s lives!
Denmark doesn’t score so well if you just look at it from cost of living, amount of sunshine and tax rate point of view for example – but hey, if it’s good enough for the Danes, (and the ones I’ve met are absolutely fantastic and lovely people), maybe it’s good enough for us too. I’m going to take a closer look anyway….perhaps I’ll see you there!
Tue, December 13, 2011 at 11:03 PM
I too have heard that Argentina and Brazil are incredibly magical places to live. I do wonder, though, about the Brazil visa requirements. If you are not sponsored by an employer but you are planning on searching for employment once you arrive, is there a different process you must go through?