Life Insurance is an insurance product that pays at the death of the insured. It really should be called "Death Insurance," but people don't like that name. But it insures the death of an individual. Actually, what is insured is the economic loss that would occur at the death of the person insured. Those economic losses take a lot of different forms, such as: - the income stream of either "breadwinner" in a family - the loss of services to the family of a stay-at-home-mom - the final expenses at the death of a child - final expenses of an individual after an illness and medical treatment - "Keyman" coverage, which insures the owner or valuable employee of a business against the economic loss the business would suffer at their death - estate planning insurance, where a person is insured to pay estate taxes at death - "Buy and Sell Agreements," in which life insurance is purchased to fund a business transaction at the untimely death of parties in the transaction - Accidental death insurance, in which a person buys a policy that pays in case they die due to an accident - Mortgage life insurance, in which the borrower buys a policy that pays off the mortgage at death - and many more. Life insurance has been around for hundreds of years, and in some cases, has become a much better product. The insurance companies have been able to develop mortality tables, which are studies of statistical patterns of human death over time...usually over a lifetime of 100 years. These mortality tables are surprisingly accurate, and allow the insurance companies to closely predict how many people of any given age will die each year. From these tables and other information, the insurance companies derive the cost of the insurance policy. The cost is customarily expressed in an annual cost per thousand of coverage. For example, if you wanted to buy $10,000 of coverage, and the cost per thousand was $10.00, your annual premium would be $100.00. Modern medicine and better nutrition has increased the life expectancy of most people. Increased life expectancy has facilitated a sharp decrease in life insurance premiums. In many cases, the cost of insurance is only pennies per thousand. There is really only one type of life insurance, and that is Term Insurance. That means that a person is insured for a certain period of time, or a term. All of the other life insurance products have term insurance as their main ingredient. There is no other ingredient they can use. However, the insurance companies have invented many, many other life products that tend to obscure the reasons for life insurance. They also vastly enrich the insurance companies. Term Insurance The most basic life insurance is an annual renewable term policy. Each year, the premium is a little higher as a person ages. The insurance companies designed a level premium policy, which stopped the annual premium increases for policyholders. The insurers basically added up all the premiums from age 0 to age 100 and then divided by 100. That means that in the early years of the policy, the policyholder pays in more money that it takes to fund the pure insurance cost, and then in later years the premium is less than the pure insurance cost. The same level term product can be designed for terms of any length, like 5, 10, 20, 25 or 30 year terms. The method of premium averaging is much the same in each case. But this new product caused some problems. Insurers know that the vast majority of policyholders do not keep a policy for life. Consequently the level term policyholders were paying future premiums and then cancelling their policies. The insurance companies were delighted because they got to keep the money. But over time, they developed the concept of Cash Value. Cash Value Insurance With Cash Value insurance, a portion of the unused premium you spend is credited to an account tied to your policy. The money is not yours...it belongs entirely to the insurance company. If you cancel your policy and request a refund, they will refund that money to you. Otherwise, you have other choices: 1. Use the cash value to buy more insurance 2. Use the cash value to pay existing premiums 3. You may borrow the money at interest 4. If you die, the insurance company keeps the cash value and only pays the face amount of the insurance policy. So, does this cash value product make sense? My response is "NO!" Cash Value Life Insurance comes in lots of other names, such as: - Whole Life - Universal Life - Variable Life - Interest Sensitive Life - Non-Participating Life (no dividends) - Participating Life (pays dividends) Many life insurance agents and companies tout their products as an investment product. But cash value insurance is not an investment. Investment dollars and insurance premiums should never be combined into one product. And investment dollars should NEVER be invested with an insurance company. They are middle men. They will take your investment and invest it themselves, and keep the difference. Think about the methods that agents use to sell life insurance, and compare them to any other type of insurance. What you'll see is that life insurance sales tactics and techniques are ridiculous when compared to other insurance products. Would you ever consider buying a car insurance policy, or homeowners policy, or business insurance policy in which you paid extra premium that the insurance company kept, or made you borrow from them? But, curiously, life insurance agents have been wildly successful convincing otherwise intelligent people that cash value life insurance is a good product to buy. Care to guess why insurance agents have aggressively sold cash value insurance and eschewed term insurance? Commissions. The insurance companies have become vastly wealthy on cash value insurance. So, to encourage sales, they pay huge commissions. Term insurance commissions can range from 10% to 50%, sometimes even 100%. But cash value insurance commissions can be up to 100% of the first year's premium, and handsome renewal commissions for years after. But it's not just the commission rate that matters. It's also the premium rates that come into play. Term insurance is FAR CHEAPER than cash value insurance. Here's an example of a 30 year old male, non-smoker, buying $100,000 of coverage: Term insurance costs $0.50 per thousand for a premium of $50.00. At 100% commission, the commission would be $50.00. Cash Value insurance costs $12.50 per thousand for a premium of $1,250.00. At 100% commission, the commission would be $1,250.00. So you see that it would be easy for an agent to place his own financial well-being ahead of the well-being of his client. He would have to sell 25 term policies to make the same commission as only one cash value policy. But, in my opinion, that agent would have violated his fiduciary duty to the client, which is the duty to place the client's needs above his own. The agent would also have to set aside his conscience. My opinion is that life insurance agents operate from one of three positions: 1. Ignorance - they simply don't know how cash value insurance works. 2. Greed - they know exactly how cash value insurance works and sell it anyway. 3. Knowledge and Duty - they sell term insurance. Which agent do you want to do business with? How do I know this stuff? Because I sold cash value life insurance early in my career. When I started as an insurance agent in 1973 I knew absolutely nothing about how life insurance worked. The insurance company taught me to sell whole life insurance, and to discourage clients from term insurance. But, after some time of reading and research, I learned that cash value insurance is a bad deal. I began to sell only term insurance. I refused to set aside my conscience. I also went back to some early clients and switched their policies from cash value to term. The insurance company fired me for that decision. I found a new insurance company that only sold term insurance and also paid high commissions. I made a good living selling term insurance, so I know it can be done. So, as you shop for life insurance, please accept the advice of an old agent. Never, never, ever buy cash value life insurance. Buy term insurance. Now, I'd like to offer you two special reports at no cost. One is "5 Things To Do When Shopping For Car Insurance," and the other is "5 Things To Avoid When Shopping For Car Insurance." Each one is a $9.95 value, but free to you when you sign up for my newsletter at the website address below. P.S. WARNING!! Do Not Buy Insurance, or Submit an Insurance Claim Without Visiting This Website! check out: Get Special Reports Get Insurance Quotes and Claim Strategies at InsuranceQuoteHQ. New book, "Commercial Insurance Claim Secrets REVEALED!" coming soon

Dal (Indian Lentil Curry)

There are countless variations of Dal all across India. This is a northern Indian version called "dal tadka" that's akin to what is served in Indian restaurants. "Tadka" refers to spices sizzling in hot oil that's poured over the dal. It's dramatic and gives it a flavour bump - but is optional. I include it for company, and leave it out for midweek or if being served alongside other punchy flavoured curries. Heat level in this recipe is mild - just a tickle. If you like it fiery, try leaving in the seeds in the chillies and/or adding some chilli powder. This is a dal that's flavourful to have as a main!
Ingredients
  • Dal
  • 2 tbsp / 30 g ghee , or 1 tbsp oil + 1 tbsp/15g butter (Note 1)
  • 2 green cayenne chillies , deseeded and cut into chunks (optional) (Note 2)
  • 1 medium onion , finely chopped (brown or yellow)
  • 6 garlic cloves , finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger , finely chopped (1.5cm / 3/5")
  • 8 fresh curry leaves , or 6 dried (Note 3)
  • 1 tomato , chopped
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 cup dried chana dal , yellow split peas or other yellow lentils (Note 4 for other lentils)
  • 4 cups / 1 litre water
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/8 tsp garam marsala
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Tadka (optional):
  • 1 1/2 tbsp / 20g ghee , or half each butter + oil (Note 1)
  • 1 eschalot or 1/4 small onion , halved lengthways and sliced (Note 5)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds (optional)
  • 3 dried chillies , broken in half, seeds removed (optional)
  • To serve
  • Fresh coriander/cilantro sprigs (optional)
  • Steamed basmati rice

Instructions
  1. Soak Lentils: Rinse lentils and leave to soak in plenty of water for 1 hour. Drain in colander.
  2. Heat ghee/oil in a heavy based saucepan over high heat. Add green chillies and fry for a minute until starting to blister.
  3. Add onions and fry until softened.
  4. Lower heat to medium, add garlic, ginger and curry leaves. Cook for 1 minute until garlic starts to turn golden and smells amazing.
  5. Add tomatoes and cumin, cook until tomatoes start to break down and thicken to a paste - about 2 minutes.
  6. Add lentils, water, tumeric and salt. Stir, bring to simmer, cover and simmer gently for 1 hour. Stir two or three times during the hour.
  7. Remove lid and simmer gently for 30 minutes to thicken, stirring every now and then. The dal is ready when it has a consistency like porridge - some lentils should be intact but some have broken down to thicken the sauce.
  8. Stir through garam masala at the end. Adjust salt if desired.
  9. Pour over Tadka, if using, and stir through.
  10. Serve Dal over rice, garnished with a sprig of coriander if desired.
  11. Tadka - Sizzling Spices (optional)
  12. Heat ghee in a small pan over medium heat until hot but not smoking.
  13. Add cumin and mustard seeds, stir until cumin is slightly golden.
  14. Then add chillies and cook for 20 seconds, then add eschallots and cook until tinged with gold. Don't let the spices burn!
  15. Immediately pour into Dahl.
Recipe Notes
1. Ghee is clarified butter and it's the main fat used in Indian cooking. Sold in the international section of Coles and other major Australian supermarkets. Otherwise, use equal parts butter + vegetable oil.
2. The green chillies sold at supermarkets in Australia are cayenne green chillies.
3. Curry leaves really add an extra something-something to curries. Find them in the fresh herb section of Australian supermarkets or find dried in the dried herbs and spice section.
4. LENTILS: I use chana dal here for its shape and texture - sold in the international section of some Coles supermarkets. Any yellow dal such as channa dal, toor dal or moong dal can be used in this recipe. 
If you cannot get hold of chana dal, yellow split peas are a terrific substitution but only use 3 cups of water and cook for 40 minutes covered and 30 minutes uncovered.
For toor dal, only use 3 cups of water and cook per recipe times.
All other lentils - follow the Yellow Split Pea directions above, then at the end of the cook time, you might need to add more water and/or cook for longer.
This recipe is not suited to puye lentils, or other teeny tiny lentils. Anything shaped like yellow split peas should be fine.
5. Eschallots are the small onions that are finer than normal onions. The white part of green onions/scallions/shallots will be fine, or even 1/4 of a normal onion.

6. GENERAL NOTES: 
* Fat levels - You'll miss some of the luxurious richness if you cut down on fat but you can reduce slightly if desired. 
* Dal will thicken after cooking. Stop the cooking just before what you think is the ideal consistency, and it will be just right by the time you serve. If reheating the next day, add some water to loosen the dal. 
* Dal is FILLING!!! This recipe feeds 3 very generously, or 4 normal servings.
* Be really careful making the tadka, as it's easy to burn the spices. It is better to have oil that's not hot enough and then turn up the heat, than oil that is too hot to start with. 
7. Recipe Source: This recipe is another RecipeTin Family effort. We referenced a number of authentic sources, distilling the best bits into our recipe to achieve the closest possible replica of the Dahl we love from Indian restaurants. Indian celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor's dal tadka was one source, as was a recipe we found from Rick Stein and his travels across India. A few Youtube videos from home cooks in India also helped us get the tadka technique down (after burning the spices and smoking ourselves out of the kitchen a couple of times - read the notes and learn from us!) We hope you enjoy this dal as much as we do.
8. Nutrition per serving, dal only, assuming 4 servings.


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