Downsizing: How to Do It the Right Way


Whatever your reason for downsizing is, it is important that you know how to do it correctly. In the infographics below, we listed down the reasons why downsizing is a good idea as well as the tips on how to get started.

Graphic created by Pivotal Home Solutions

Tips to Follow Opening a Joint Account with Your Partner or Spouse

Many couples see opening a joint bank account, like one offered at as a way of taking their relationship to the next level. Just as it is vital you’ve got financial compatibility to work well together as a couple, you also need to be working towards the same kind of goals financially when opening a bank account together.

If you are preparing or considering embarking on a new stage in your life together, make sure you take note and follow the practical and helpful tips listed in this post. Joint accounts can be great, but also can go disastrously wrong if you don’t take proper precautions or think it through before signing up for anything.

Research, Research and Research Some More

Just as you would if you were investing in or signing up to a financial product or bank account solely for yourself, you need to conduct thorough research into your options before you dive in and sign up for anything. Look at the different accounts offered by a variety of different companies and the types of benefits you can avail yourself of.

Have a Good Handle on Your Partner/Spouse’s Money Values

As we noted at the outset, it’s important you think the same as one another when it comes to money or at least that there is a certain degree of cohesiveness in your financial values. You both need to fully understand where the money you have comes from, the value you each have on that money and what your individual spending history has been like up until that point.

Money and finances can be the source of bitter disagreements and arguments, so it’s important that you are both trying to work from the same playbook. A savings and financial strategy as well as spending boundaries are all great things to establish.

Make Realistic Plans for Budgeting Your Finances and Goals for Savings

Following on nicely from the above, you need to identify what your shared purchases and savings goals are and then figure out a realistic budget and financial plan that enables you to achieve them. A joint account could be an excellent idea, but only if you have similar plans to one another.

Appreciate and Fully consider the Risks Involved

Although there are great benefits that come from sharing your expenses and finances, there are also many major risks involved that you should address and fully consider before you sign up for anything. Both halves of the partnership will lose a degree of privacy as all who are named account holders will have full access to that account and will be able to see exactly what has been happening and where money is being spent.

Even if you only take it from the justifiable angle that you want to keep gift purchases for your other half secret from them, it is best to have a separate account for some of your own individual money. This should be budgeted for as being outside the amount designated for household bills and shared expenses and may be used for personal spends and play money.

Wedding Season Is Coming – Start Planning Your Bachelorette Party!

Summer is pretty much here, and while, for many, the warm weather is a sign of relaxation and fun, for anyone involved with a summer wedding it can mean a whole lot of stress and work. Not only are there dresses to order, speeches to write and rehearsals to attend, but there’s also the bachelorette party – arguably the largest responsibility of the wedding party.

A perfect bachelorette party is a near impossible contradiction of things: it is insanely fun without being effortful; it brings a group of often-unfamiliar friends together for a familiar party; it is active yet relaxing; it is wedding themed, yet diverting enough to take the bride’s mind off the wedding. Phew, that is a tough ask of anyone.

But if you look hard enough, and plan shrewdly enough, it is possible to pull off the perfect bachelorette party, even if you’re coming at it last minute. It’s all about breaking the night down into parts. First, you have the icebreaker activity, an activity that’s entertaining enough to bring together a disparate group of people, while still allowing for everyone to get to know each other.

A fun icebreaker activity that you see more and more nowadays is axe throwing. It’s an insanely fun way to get your friends together and it gets out some stress and frustration. Plus, it subverts the dumb gender norm that only men can wield axes. A perfect example of a successful icebreaker activity.

Next, you have the portion of the evening that’s best referred to as her last meal. Having worked up a small sweat with the icebreaker activity, it’s time to eat. But rather than just choosing any old fancy small-plates restaurant, this is the part where you demonstrate how well you know the bride-to-be.

Choose her favorite food, or, if you know it, choose her favorite restaurant. This is the part of the evening where you break out all the clichés: the bride-to-be sash, the cheesy printed shirts, the phallic shaped bric-a-brac and embarrassing, sometimes vulgar stories about the bride-to-be.

Finally, you have hair down portion of the night, the “capital p” Party part of the Bachelorette. After an icebreaking activity and an intimate dinner, this is a wild, well-earned culmination of everything the bachelorette party has accomplished thus far.

Yes, it usually involves booze. Yes, it usually involved some questionable dance moves. Yes, it almost always ends with someone ugly crying (out of happiness, of course). And yes, you will likely end up getting a greasy late-night snack. This is the way the bachelorette goddesses intended it, and it’s just the way it is!

Those are the fundamental elements of the perfect bachelorette party. The icebreaker activity brings people together and releases some of the leftover tension; her last meal indulges everyone in good food and juicy stories about the bride-to-be; and the hair down portion ties everything up in a big, messy, party bow. Now, all that’s left to do is to start planning!

Home Security Safety Tips

It’s a sad fact that security is a priority not only in a place of work, but also around the home. There will always be opportunist thieves who will do their best to take advantage of weak spots in your security system, so it is important that you make sure you have the best possible security measures installed.

Any thief seeing a home with adequate security measures is more than likely to move on to one that is not so well protected, so here are some tips that should help you deter potential intruders.

Outdoor Lighting – security lights that switch on when movement is detected are always a useful deterrent. No burglar wants to be illuminated brightly when breaking and entering, so make sure you have lights at all your potential main entry points. If you have an integral garage, remember that this is a very likely point of entry, and often not alarmed.

Update Alarm Systems – alarms are not just helpful, but essential. You should ensure that all doors are alarmed and windows too. Windows are often a point of entry – especially if left open by mistake – so check that yours have been closed and locked before you go out. Keep alarms fully charged and switched on at all times, and if you can afford one that is linked to CCTV then do it. These are the most effective of all alarms.

Toughen Windows – if you have an older house, make sure the windows are secure enough. Some properties may still have their original windows and these can be very easy to break in through. It is always sensible to have the most secure and efficient windows installed. For anyone in the Birmingham area, there is a glass company in Pelham – Oak Mountain Glass – which can help by fitting a toughened bullet-proof film to existing windows for added protection, which is a cost-effective method if you don’t  want to replace all your glass.

Install a Safe – it may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but a good safe is a sensible purchase in any home. Burglars will typically take items that they can offload for cash – jewellery, watches, laptops and phones are some examples – so it can be added protection to hide your precious items away in a safe.

Be Aware – your typical burglar will not be sophisticated. They will find the easiest way to break in and enter – often by simply kicking in a door that is out of sight – and be in and out very quickly. Be aware of the security on your main points of entry, have them checked by local security experts, and take all the advice you can.

These are just a few of the safety tips that we came up with during our research, and we are sure there are many further ways of enhancing the security of your home. Have a good look around, put those valuable items out of sight, and if you see anything suspicious near your property, get in touch with the police right away.

Manscaping: All You Need to Know

It’s not only the ladies who want to get rid of unwanted body hair! Men are getting in on the act now – it’s gained the name ‘manscaping’ – in great numbers, and showing off their superbly shaven, smooth legs and arms in the summer. For some men, body hair growth is rapid, and this can lead to unsightly hair in the wrong places! That’s why the practice of manscaping has become more popular, and the old adage that looking good is feeling good certainly applies!

So, what’s manscaping all about, and what are the best ways of removing unwanted body hair? To be honest, it’s not just about looking good, but it can also be good for the body, too. If you are one of the unfortunate men for whom body hair grows thick and fast, you may well find that you sweat a lot, even in just warm weather.

This is because the hair and follicles – the roots, if you like – block in the heat, and prevent your skin from ‘breathing’ properly. Get rid of the hair, and you’ll soon find you are far more comfortable in the sun. Now, let’s talk about how to go about getting rid of that unwanted hair – with the least possible pain!

Sugaring Hair Removal

Think of hair removal and, male or female, you tend to think of the traditional wax method. This involves heated wax being applied to the areas you need to clear – and then pulled off! When this happens, it takes the hairs and the follicles with it, and it hurts! Fortunately, there is a less painful hair removal method that is becoming very popular. It’s done using a sugar paste rather than wax, is very effective and surprisingly efficient.

You will need to visit a salon such as L.A. Bikini – they perform sugaring hair removal for both men and women in most of their salons so check beforehand if that close to you is one of them – who are the acknowledged experts in this type of hair removal. They offer a full professional service in comfortable surroundings, and you’ll find the prices to be very reasonable.

Sugaring involves applying a sugar paste at body temperature – so there’s no heat involved – and when it is removed it is done so carefully, and in the direction of the hair growth. This is why there is less pain. Also, unlike wax, the sugar paste does not take with it live skin cells; it does remove the dead cells, however, so the result is superbly soft and smooth skin that is beautiful and ready for the sun.

This is a method of hair removal that comes highly recommended for men and women, and one that is highly effective and much more comfortable than a traditional waxing. Wherever you need manscaping, you can use this method and it is perfect for those who have sensitive skin. Have a chat with L.A. Bikini now, and see just how they can help with your manscaping requirements.

Use Your Gutters to Harvest Fresh Rainwater

Do you have the guttering on your property cleaned regularly? Perhaps you hire professional gutter cleaners to carry out this task. If you do and they are working properly, all the water that falls onto your roof will be redirected safely away from your home. However, have you ever given much thought as to how you could make use of all that rainwater? If you have, you’ve come to the right place. In the following post we are going to discuss how you can harvest rainwater to use it for everything from cleaning to irrigation and landscaping.

What is Rainwater Harvesting and How is it Done?

Rainwater harvesting is name given to the process of collecting and storing water for various practical purposes around the home, as outlined at the outset. Most setups are simple and feature either a cistern or a large barrel connected directly to the guttering at the downspouts so that the rain is collected as it runs off your roof.

There are some people who make use of rainwater they have harvested as an alternative and cost-effective source of a fresh water supply. Furthermore, there are some people who simply like to collect and store water for emergency situations such as the drier months of the year and when there’s droughts. Rainwater harvesting can be particularly useful in areas with hosepipe and watering bans in place.

Different Options for Storing Water

As noted, cisterns and tanks tend to be the storage option of choice for rainwater harvesters as they can be positioned on the ground in a way that means you can use the water without the need for a pump. There are several underground systems, that may suit you if you don’t want a water tank ruining the aesthetics of your property’s exterior or simply, if you live somewhere that suffers from below freezing temperatures.

Rather than storing the water, some property owners have a system in place that directs the water flowing from the gutters into a water feature in their garden or yard. Although this means that they can’t really use the water for irrigation or cleaning purposes, it does mean that their ponds or fountains will always have enough water.

May Involve Making Changes to Your Gutters

As you can probably guess, if you are interested in having a system in place to harvest rainwater means that you may have to make some changes to your current guttering system. In most cases, at the very least, you’d need to attach the collection point for the water to a downspout. This may involve removing a section of it or removing it completely or even installing a more flexible one in its place. Ideally, whatever you do, you’ll want to ensure that none of the water is lost and can be put to good use.

Rather than trying to tinker with your guttering by yourself and causing costly problems, it could be worth hiring either a professional tradesman or gutter expert to help you.

Tips for Choosing a Good Quality Roofing Contractor

If you need work carried out on the roof of your property, you may be considering your options. Although you may want to give it a go yourself, roofing work is complicated and dangerous and is often best left to the professionals. However, as there are so many professional roofing companies out there who all claim to offer a high-quality service, you may be at a loss as to how to pick one that is as good as it says it is. In the following post we aim to take a lot of the guess work out of this decision-making process and give you some tips for looking for roofers Atlanta-based or otherwise.

Never Look Solely at the Price

You should never choose a roofing contractor just based on the price they offer for their work. Although you’ll evidently have a budget in mind for the work that you’ll want to stay within, you should avoid just hiring a company because they offer an extremely low quote. Sometimes low quotes are not great value for money and are just representative of the bad workmanship of the company. Look for what you get for the quote – the experience, the expertise and testimonials of other customers.

Always Opt for Local Contractors

It’s always a good idea to look to a local company to hire. We don’t just mean one that offers their services in your local area and community. You should look for a contractor that is based in your local area and has a good reputation for the work they provide. If you don’t, you may be putting the work you need completed in the hands of a company you know nothing about. If they’re not local and offer you a warranty, for instance, how will you know if the warranty is worth anything? If though, they are based locally to you, you can meet up with the voices at the end of the telephone and make sure they are a legit company that can make such promises.

Insurance is Crucial

We can’t stress how important this tip is. It’s vital that when you are looking to hire a roofing contractor that you ensure they are adequately insured. Make sure that they have compensation and liability insurance. Rather than just taking their word for it, ask for evidence and to see their certification of this coverage. You could also go one better and speak to their insurer’s directly to ensure that the information they have given is up-to-date and valid.

Get Everything in Writing

Before signing any contract, make sure that you and the contractor both agree on what you are paying for and that it is all in writing. Never just pay money for anything that is agreed upon just verbally. Make sure that when they offer a contact that all the details are correct and that their prices are clear and transparent. The last thing you want is to be stung by additional charges or fees that the company added to the initial quote once the work is complete.

Great Benefits of Enlisting the Help of a Property Management Company

Do you consider yourself to be a landlord whose hands-on or would you like to just get the benefit of having an investment property without having to deal with maintenance and repairs calls at the weekend or the monthly expense and income management? Would you prefer having someone else help you deal with the finer details and all the management involved in owning a rental property? You may want to enlist the help of an experienced and professional rental property management.

If you’re still not sure, then here are five benefits that may convince you.

Screen for Problem Tenants to Avoid

Having experienced property management on your side, means that you get years and years of experiencing in dealing with thousands and thousands of tenant applications. Having those trained eyes on that can make the process of screening tenants easier, as they will know the prospective issues and red flags to look out for when looking at applicant’s information. Overall, this will ensure you’ve got the best chance of gaining reliable tenants.

Port of Call For when Tenants Have Issues

If something gets damaged at your rental property, it may not always be possible or convenient to drive out and check it out by yourself. Especially if your rental property is not in the same place as your home. Havin a property manager in place though, means that your tenants have a port of call that they can contact to field issues and report damages and repairs, regardless of the houses of day. They can also take responsibility for arranging suitable inspections, repairs and replacements.

Furthermore, if you have tenants that always seem to complain, property managers become your ears meaning you don’t have to deal with listening to their moans and groans.

Reducing Turnover of Tenants

Experienced property managers have extensive experience in ensuring that tenants are kept happy and satisfied. They know how to be responsible, proactive in dealing with issues and always available. When your renters are happy, they’re far less likely to look elsewhere for a different property to rent.

Making Sure Rent is Always Paid on time

As the fees for property management teams tend to be taken from monthly rental payments, they are motivated to ensure those payments keep coming in regularly. Rent collection can be one of the biggest bug bears and headaches for newbie landlords. By handing the responsibility over to an experience team, you not only can ensure that your rent is paid on time, but that you don’t have to deal with tenants who refuse to or who have any multitude of excuses for why they can’t. Property management teams have the relevant expertise for dealing with these situations and are even well-versed in how to handle eviction notices when necessary.

Although you may want to do it all and reduce the outgoings on your rental property, we hope you can see the real benefit of investing in the help of a team that knows exactly what they are doing.

Calculate the Costs of Retiring the Way You Want

How much does it cost to live the kind of retirement lifestyle you’re planning? Retirement planning when you’re still working can look a lot different than retirement planning as you become an older senior with changing needs.

There are several lifestyles you may want to consider as you become an older senior. One of the most important factors to consider as you evaluate your options and calculate your costs is the level of care you need now and that you will need in the future.

Staying at Home

Staying at home is a popular option among many seniors, but it can also prove to be an expensive one. There are several costs to consider if you want to stay at home:

  • Upkeep such as necessary repairs, as well as lawn care and snow removal
  • ● Senior-friendly renovations that use universal design, such as non-slip flooring, walk-in tubs, lever door handles, and step-free entrances
  • Costs of home care if you need assisted living or nursing care

Depending on your financial situation, you may also have to keep up with mortgage or rent payments.


Downsizing is a smart strategy for many seniors who no longer need to live in a large home. By moving from a large home into a condo or apartment, you can also minimize the necessary renovations by living somewhere with stairs.

Downsizing can also help you cover the ongoing costs of your later retirement. This sheet can help you calculate the proceeds of selling a home and how it can fund your later retirement and any care you might need.

Retirement Residences

An alternative way of downsizing is moving into a retirement residence or community. Rather than handle the upkeep, costs, and responsibilities of your own smaller condo or apartment, you could move into a suite in a retirement community where you won’t have to worry about housekeeping or cooking for yourself.

Retirement residences can also offer flexible care. As you age, your needs change. A progressive illness such as Alzheimer’s will also mean that your care needs can evolve rapidly. A retirement residence is one of the easiest ways to get care that matches changing requirements without having to move again.

Care costs are often the most expensive part of your later retirement. Use resources online to compare the costs of assisted living with more intensive care such as memory care.

Assisted living in retirement residences such as All Seniors Care Living Centres can assist you with many of the Activities of Daily Living. These are activities that some older seniors may struggle with due to disability or mobility issues. They include bathing, eating, dressing, toileting, and transferring. The most common issues among retirement community residents are bathing and dressing.

If you’re going to have an evolving need for care, find a long term care facility near you and ask how they can meet your unique needs.

From assisted living to memory care, a retirement residence can often provide superior care more affordably and give your family more peace of mind. Consider all your options for the later part of your retirement.

Buying a Remote Home: What You Need to Know

While some people are completely unable to cope without the advantages of the big city, there are others who dream of living far away from the hustle and bustle. Increasingly, more people than ever are looking at the benefits of a more remote existence, and the increase in connectivity afforded by the internet means that losing out on some of the big city benefits is largely minimized. From lower costs to making sure that you have adequate supplies, here’s everything that you need to know if you dream of living far away from the frantic demands of chaotic city living.

Lower Costs

Not only will your rental costs be lower the further away from the city you get, your cost of living will drop as well. Paying to live in a metropolis is very expensive, and even local amenities can charge more. You can spend less per month if you live more remotely, and you can use that money to improve your quality of life in a variety of ways. When looking at potential properties that appeal to you, make sure that you get some professional advice. Remember to Compare Conveyancing Quotes to ensure that you know exactly what your overall costs are going to be, and you could end up with a much better home than you ever imagined.

More Space

If there’s one thing that most people miss when they live in a city, it’s space. If you live somewhere more remote, not only will you be paying less rent, you’ll be getting more space for your money as well. How you use that space is up to you, but more people are turning their hand to growing their own food, and you could be lowering your food bill more than you think by doing the same. Growing your own food also means that you will have to rely less on long trips to get supplies, so it might be worth putting the work in to save travel costs.

Connection Effort

One of the biggest problems with any move is making sure that you remain connected to people. While conversations over social media or email are useful for keeping in touch, there’s nothing quite like meeting up in person. One of the potential issues that you face if you move somewhere more remote is that making arrangements to meet up can be very complicated. Travel itself may even become an issue, with airports and public transport links much harder to get to.

Better Quality of Life

You might not have a Starbucks within easy reach, but there are some great advantages to living far away from the city centre. These include:

  • More privacy – You can’t take a step in a city without bumping into someone. Live remotely, and you may not see another human being for days or even weeks.
  • Better mental health – Research has shown that being in the great outdoors is very beneficial for boosting mental health.
  • Clean air – Cars and buses do not make the air very pleasant in a city. Being distanced from all of that traffic will work wonders on your health, and you will breathe much easier as a result.
  • Lower crime rates – Cities can be dangerous, and almost everyone who lives in one has been the victim of a crime of some kind. Fewer people means less crime, and rural crime rates are much lower than those of a big city.

It may not be for everyone, but living in a more remote location has many benefits. There are downsides, so if you’re considering a move, make sure that those downsides are not going to be ones that overly affect you. Take your time to find the perfect remote home, and you might wonder why you ever tolerated the fast and stressful pace of city living.