Happiness is one of the critical variables in creating a good quality of life. This is why, in recent years, there’s been a growing movement to explore concepts and changes to achieve it. The global community has been directing attention to the nations that rank high in the UN’s World Happiness Report.
Finland and Denmark, the two countries that regularly compete for the number one spot in the report, are believed to share similar qualities that have been identified as strong causes of happiness, such as reliable governance that covers the needs of citizens and good work-life balance.
When it comes to countries where happiness abounds, it’s certainly not just those two that many are looking at. A few Caribbean nations, for instance, are serving as happiness destinations for people from highly industrialized countries. Antigua and Barbuda, for one, is a country in the West Indies that foreigners are relocating to so they can have a happier life.
In this twin-island nation, a lot of expats have learned that they can enjoy simple pleasures. This isn’t only because Antigua and Barbuda is such a natural marvel (with 365 beaches you can visit for every day of the year). The country offers so much more.
Therefore, if you are looking to acquire Antigua residency and lead a more joyful life through a citizenship by investment program (of which Antigua and Barbuda is known to have the best in the Caribbean), the following six reasons are the top factors that point to happiness to keep in mind.
1. Sunny Weather
Sunny weather is something that many take for granted. However, it’s one of the most accessible sources of happiness in Antigua and Barbuda. Why is that? Various medical studies show that there’s a lower occurrence of depression in people from sunny countries because sunlight is believed to increase their levels of serotonin (a happy hormone).
As such, for people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder or SAD, just moving to a sunny-all-year-round place like Antigua and Barbuda can automatically improve their quality of life and happiness levels.
2. Friendly Locals
In a report shared by CBC News: The National, loneliness is an epidemic in most of the wealthiest countries in the world because people are too busy to mind their neighbors. The likelihood of such loneliness is low in Antigua and Barbuda because locals here are quite engaging. They are used to tourists coming in from cruise ships. Plus, they just are naturally friendly.
When it comes to the pursuit of happiness, simply having people around who are generous with their smiles and greetings can have a significant impact. And in this country, locals love to connect through conversation with just about anybody, which is most probably one of the reasons why being on time for appointments is not a common practice here (and in other parts of the Caribbean region). Therefore, if you move here, you can look forward to more happy days living amongst Antiguans.
3. Tax Relief
Financial relief through special tax programs is another happiness variable offered by Antigua and Barbuda. Indeed, people are happier when they have fewer concerns involving money. According to the World Happiness Report, countries with highly effective tax systems tend to be happier because there’s less uncertainty about the future. In Denmark, for example, Danes believe that the government utilizes its high taxes well to secure the citizens’ lives, which is why they are happy and satisfied.
In Antigua and Barbuda, on the other hand, taxes offer a different kind of happiness. There is no capital gains tax on worldwide income and tax holidays are provided to qualifying companies’ profits for up to two decades. Plus, there are other tax benefits for earning citizens (natural or dual).
The knowledge that the government is not trying to dip into what you believe is rightfully yours is a huge help in working toward financial goals, and this is reason enough to smile for many.
4. Laid-back Pace of Life
Folks in Antigua and Barbuda are hardworking people, but they know how to carefully balance work and life, which is something that people from wealthier nations struggle with. When you move to this country, you’ll come to understand the value of approaching life with truly living in mind. This means getting joy out of the simple things such as tasty street food, a game of dominoes, day-end dinner parties, laughing with neighbors, and so much more.
For most Antiguans, tomorrow will take care of itself. Therefore, the focus should always be on the present moment and making the best out of it in both big and small ways.
5. Great Food
The local public markets are brimming with fresh produce and catch from the sea every day. It’s a source of assurance to live in a country where good food is so accessible and affordable.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you can quickly get the best organic ingredients for your special meals. If you’re a gastronome, you will love everything from the family-owned cafeterias to the beach eateries, and gourmet restaurants owned by world-renowned chefs. Indeed, if good food brings you great joy, there’s certainly no shortage of that in Antigua and Barbuda.
6. Outdoor Activities
Finally, the country boasts of many fun outdoor activities because of the convenient access to stunning beaches and lush forests. If you live in a busy, cosmopolitan city (say, the US or the UK), you’ll have to take time out of your hectic week to drive to the beach or mountains.
But for expats who mostly live in St. John’s, Jolly Harbour, Galley Bay Heights, or Pearns Point and other multinational residential communities, nature is the backyard. Everybody can easily take daily hikes, go on walks by the beach, go kayaking or snorkelling, and many more.
One of the most important realizations that a lot of people often arrive at too late in life is that happiness is integral to living. It is key to optimum performance and productivity, health, and solid relationships. Therefore, if there are ways to acquire happiness, such as by relocating to a beautiful country like Antigua and Barbuda and obtaining Antigua citizenship, explore this option. While happiness can come naturally, it is also something that you can work toward, so that it can become a constant presence in your life.
Kal Kennard is a Partner at Citizens International, a white-glove specialist firm offering private client services necessary for citizenship, residency and investment into the Caribbean, North America, and Europe. Based in the Caribbean for the past 15 years, she is an experienced consultant who works directly with many professional partners and advises clients worldwide.