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

Funfetti Cut-Out Sugar Cookies

No dough chilling necessary for these soft cut-out sugar cookies that are filled with colorful sprinkles and perfect for any occasion. Crisp edges, soft centers, and completely customizable in flavor and shape!

Ingredients
  • 2 and ½ to 3 cups all-purpose flour^
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 and ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature*
  • 1 and ½ teaspoons almond extract
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅔ cup sprinkles

Instructions
  1. In a medium sized bowl, toss together 2 and ½ cups of flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl with a hand mixer or the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. In a measuring cup or small bowl with a spout, beat the egg and flavoring/extract of your choosing. Add egg mixture to creamed butter and sugar and beat on high until completely incorporated, scraping down sides as necessary.
  3. With mixer on low, add flour mixture to wet ingredients little by little, allowing dough to come together after each addition. After you have added all 2 and ½ cups of flour (plus baking powder and salt) to the bowl, most of the dough should stick to your beaters or paddle. Add the sprinkles and mix again on low until evenly dispersed.
  4. Test dough consistency by touching it with your fingers. It should be slightly tacky, but not sticky. It should remind you of Play-Doh. If it is too sticky, add ¼ cup of flour at a time until you reach 3 total cups of flour (two additions). Occasionally, I will need a tad more flour, but do not exceed 3 cups + 2 Tablespoons flour. Too much flour yields denser cookies, and we want these to stay soft. When your dough is the right consistency, gather it into a ball and allow it to rest for 15 minutes. While it is resting, preheat your oven to 400ºF. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Set aside.
  5. Prepare your rolling surface by dusting it lightly with flour (working too much flour into dough can result in harder, crunchier cookies with a less sweet taste). If you would like, use two wooden dowels, sized at ¼" thickness, on either side of your dough while rolling it out to keep cookies a uniform thickness. When your dough is ready to roll, break off a workable size of dough. I usually break it into 4 pieces. Roll dough with a floured rolling pin and cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Because of the candy cane pieces, metal cutters to work much better than plastic. I like to dip my cookie cutter into flour every few cuts to keep my cookie edges clean. Transfer cut dough onto baking sheets. It is best to keep cookies that are the same size and shape together on baking sheets so as to uniformly bake all of your cookies. Re-roll and cut dough as needed until all of the dough is used up. At this point, you may decorate cut cookies with more sprinkles or just leave them plain and decorate them with icing or chocolate later.
  6. Bake cookies for 4-6 minutes. You will need to watch them carefully. Bake until cookies are slightly puffed and are no longer shiny. Edges may start to brown, and that's ok, just work quickly to remove them from the oven. I prefer to remove mine before they start to brown. Allow cookies to rest on baking sheet for 3 minutes before transferring to wire rack to cool completely. I prefer to decorate day-old cookies, as they are sturdier, but this is personal preference and only a suggestion. Decorate with white chocolate or this cookie icing, sprinkles, or dip into melted chocolate. Undecorated cookies freeze extremely well (I actually like to eat them frozen!), up to 3 months. Do not freeze decorated cookies. Thaw overnight before decorating previously frozen cookies. Cookies will stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature well over a week.
Notes
^Start with 2 and ½ cups of flour and work your way up to 3 cups as needed. Do not exceed 3 cups + 2 Tablespoons.
*Room temperature egg preferred. It is always a good idea to use a room temperature egg when using room temperature butter, which allows for better incorporation into dough.


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