Orange on Green: Spend Money, Save Your Family PDF Print E-mail
Written by Tom and Brad Cunningham   
Friday, 28 May 2010 08:27

Orange on Green: Spend Money, Save Your Family
One local couple became heroes to their children and family with one financial decision. Learn more about how they protected their future and how you can do the same.

Whether a heroic act saves one or a thousand lives does not diminish its importance. And one such act of heroism changed five lives earlier this year in an immense way.


New Richmond residents Julie and Donnie Smith, are in their mid-30's and have three children, ages 4, 2 and 1. Julie works as a director of fund operations for a local investment company, while Donnie is a manager for a dry cleaning company. This average family made an average decision' in 2009 to become financially literate. But the result of that decision was anything but average, as it changed the course of their lives.


Medical insurance was one aspect of their financial world they took some time to learn. At the time, the family was covered by insurance through Julie's employer. Her coverage provided for a $500,000 annual cap, with a $1.5 million lifetime maximum. Donnie's insurance plan provided for a $5 million lifetime maximum, with no annual cap. After careful research, the family made the decision to transition the family over to Donnie's insurance plan even though it cost more money per month.


When asked about making the transition, Julie shared, "We never thought about it before taking the time to learn. After understanding the options, it just wasn't worth the risk."


In Feburary the family was able to make the medical insurance transition, and on Feb. 20, Charles Benton Smith (Ben) was born at Good Samaritan Hospital five weeks early. To their surprise, Ben was born with congenital chylothorax, a rare cause of respiratory distress in the neonatal period. Ben was immediately admitted to the ICU, where he struggled to survive through an initial critical period. After 53 days, Ben was released from the hospital with a great prognosis for his future!


As medical bills continue to stream in from the family's two month stay in the ICU, the tab is much more than the $500,000 that would have been covered had they not made the switch. And if they hadn't made that decision? "I don't even know what we would have done. Things would be very different," Julie says.


Sixty-two percent of all personal bankruptcies filed in the United States in 2007 were due to an inability to pay for medical expenses, according to a recent Harvard study in the American Journal of Medicine. The Smiths avoided bankrupting their own family by making a financially educated decision. Once they had the facts, the decision was simple.


Think they are a hero?


While the Smith children are too young to comprehend the magnitude of the situation, they are aware of their surroundings. They still live in their family home, go to the same school, and participate in the same activities. Their lives continued without forced changes as a result of an informed decision.


Heroes today may represent the athletes, firefighters, police officers, doctors and nurses who all serve our communities admirably. They may also represent quite simply a parent, sibling or neighbor who made a choice that changed their lives forever. Or in the Smiths' case, avoided a change for the worse.


Heroes? For those impacted by the decision to become financially literate, we say "Absolutely!"




Photos courtesy of the Smith family

Tom And Brad Cunningham -

Tom and Brad Cunningham are Cincy Chic's financial columnists, and they are the co-founders of Orangefinancial. If you want to share your comments or inquire for more information, e-mail them at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


More articles by this author

Orange on Green: Budgeting for a New Pet
Orange on Green: Budgeting for a New Pet Pets add so...
Orange on Green: Nine Ways to Save on Your Big Day
Orange on Green: Nine Ways to Save on Your Big...
Last Updated on Sunday, 30 May 2010 17:21



We have 423 guests online