One of the more memorable acceptance speeches delivered at this year’s Academy Awards was from Best Supporting Actress, Patricia Arquette. Her remarks about gender equality and the pay gap between men and women struck a chord that lasted beyond the show, and she recently spoke at an event sponsored by the United Nations on the same topic.

In 2015, it is shocking — though not surprising to some — that women would be paid less for doing the same job as men. Yes, times are changing but perhaps not fast enough in this case. Ms. Arquette made the comment that change starts with women.

I mention this because of a Boston Globe article written recently about how women lag behind men in financial literacy. This is another example where there should be gender equality. The gist of the article says that women scored lower than men in answering questions related to money and finances.

It also goes on to say that the women who were polled were more financially vulnerable than their male counterparts.

Whether or not a gender pay gap is a factor, the truth is that women today need to understand their finances as well as men for a number of reasons.

In the case of a divorce, a woman who may have relied on her husband now bears the full responsibility for her financial well-being.

Among married couples, we know that women tend to outlive their husbands and at some point they need to have a solid grasp of their financial situation.

Obviously there are many exceptions to the rule and plenty of women are both the breadwinner and the decision-maker of the family when it comes to finances. However, it is important that all women (and men, too!) learn and understand how their finances work so that they can make informed decisions at critical moments in their lives.

Here’s the link to the quiz to test your financial capability.

March’s Home Improver
Crocus Focus

There are a few sure signs of spring. First is the end of snow (which may or may not be the case after this record-setting year). Next, there are the clocks “springing ahead” to Daylight Saving Time. Finally, there is the emergence of the beautiful crocus plant.

The crocus is a perennial bulb that is a member of the iris family. It blooms in several colors, including purple, white and saffron. In fact, the spice saffron is made from crocus flowers.

Why does the crocus tend to bloom before other plants? One thing we know is that the crocus will bloom at the first reasonably warm day and will remain unharmed even with a few remaining snowstorms left in the season.

The crocus is also resistant to insects, though a hungry squirrel may have its way with it. Its hardy nature makes it a plant you can expect to see growing in your yard for many years to come.

If you plan to plant crocus bulbs, the best time to do it is in the fall. The bulbs settle in for a long winter’s nap before poking up through the soil at the first sign of spring. Some varieties of crocus actually bloom in the fall and should be planted in late summer. Clearly, this plant enjoys a change in seasons.

The crocus looks best when it grows under trees and in large flower beds. Your blooming crocus will display its stunning colors as its delicate leaves sway in the breeze. Following a brutal winter, this amazing flower offers hope for a warm and beautiful spring.