Why Ollie’s Christmas tree is a metaphor for bad money management

Ollie’s daughter Alice thought she’d made a good job of decorating the Christmas tree for the first time, but Ollie thought otherwise – and explained to his wife Lizzie why their daughter’s efforts were like managing money without the help of an money management app like Solo Expenses…

Ollie was no great shakes at interior design, but even he knew that Christmas trees should have decorations all over them, and not just on the bottom half. “Is that it?,” he shouted, dumbstruck, as he struggled out of his coat at the end of a long and stressful week at work. “Are we not having decorations on the top half of this tree?”

Lizzie dashed through from the kitchen urging him to be quiet. “Don’t make a fuss. Alice did the decorations all on her own. She’s very proud of it.”

“Then perhaps we should have got a smaller tree. One she could reach the top of,” he suggested. “Or she could have had a tiny one of her own.”

Lizzie took him be the hand and led him into the kitchen where Alice was eating a meal including broccoli florets. She said: “Look, Daddy; little trees. I trimmed our Christmas tree today.”

Lizzie’s raised eyebrows encouraged Ollie to be supportive of his daughter’s efforts. He did his best. “Did you? Wow! It looks great. Perhaps later you’ll help Daddy to decorate the top half too. Would you like to do that?”

Alice nodded vigorously. A mouthful of broccoli had temporarily robbed her of the power of speech.

Which was why, as soon as she’d finished eating, Ollie carried Alice who was carried on one of her father’s arms, whilst he used the other to add decorations to the barren ‘upper reaches’ of the conifer. When they’d finished, he stepped backwards, stepping on an unused bauble and breaking it. “Oops, Daddy. You’ve broken it,” said Alice. “She’s not wrong,” said Lizzie. “Run a bath for her now, will you?”

Money management and a Christmas tree
Later that evening, with Alice and Jack both in bed fast asleep, Ollie poured glasses of red wine for himself and Lizzie. “You know,” he said, “Alice’s Christmas decorations are just like personal money management…”

“Go ahead, blind me with your wisdom,” invited Lizzie.

“Well,” said her husband, “Alice didn’t decorate the top half of the tree because she couldn’t reach it, but she was perfectly happy to decorate what was in front of her.”

“To be honest, being five might have had something to do with it too,” suggested Lizzie gently.

“Naturally, but my point is that she couldn’t see the whole picture, and that’s just the same trap people fall into if they’re not a good expense manager. The picture might look rosy immediately in front of them, but without being able to see the bigger picture, it’s impossible to understand what sort of a state their finances are in overall. A good money management app like Solo Expenses is perfect for that, as we prove with the Banks family finances every month, because we know all the time exactly what we’re spending on stuff. Do you see my point?”

“Of course I do. You converted me months ago, as well as your dad Ron – and if you can convert someone as set in his ways as Ron, then you’ve used a persuasive argument about good expense management software. Now, pass me the remote; there’s a film I wanted to watch, and I’m sure it’s on this evening. By the way,” she said, pointing the remote at the line-up of cards on the windowsill, “we got a Christmas card from Sunil and Sunita Nigam at Solo Expenses this morning. It’s that one at the end.”

Ollie’s eyes widened in horror. “Crikey! Did we send…?”

“We did, Banks, we did. Or, if you want to be completely accurate, I did. You know, for someone who understands how helpful good online expense management can be in making the best use of money, you’re not so hot at seeing the bigger picture elsewhere, are you?”

“And why would I need to be, with you on the team, Wonderwoman?”

Lizzie smiled at him. “Flattery will get you everywhere – but you’ll have to work a lot harder than that if you’re hoping Santa will bring you the replica football kit you hanker after…”