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What Can Frog Gigging Teach Us About Marriage and Estate Planning?

I was looking to try some new outdoor activities when I stumbled across frog gigging. Frog gigging, for those who don’t know, involves using a long pole with prongs on the end to spear frogs for food. I have never done it before – I am still waiting for an invitation, but I did watch some videos of it online and thought, Frog gigging is a great analogy for wedding vows.

It starts with focus.

Getting married is like gigging a frog. Working backward, before gigging the frog you were focusing all of your attention on it. You didn’t notice the leaves rustling, the dogs barking, or the airplane flying overhead. You only perceive the frog that is the focus of your concentration and the drifting of the boat that causes you to automatically adjust your aim. Before that, you had to get the light on the frog. To do that you had to gather your equipment, get on the boat, make sure you had a bag with you. All sorts of things lead up to that final moment.

A good, holistic estate plan will help you focus on gigging the frog as well as gathering all of the equipment you need.

You don’t consciously ignore all of the distractions around you. You decide to focus your attention on gigging the frog and your brain figures out what information is important to pay attention to.

In your wedding vows, instead of gigging a frog you are gigging “until death do us part.” People don’t like to focus on that because we are uncomfortable thinking about death. 

We tend to travel in the direction our head is facing.

However, our brains have a big, powerful subconscious that we can get working for us. If you focus your concentration on “until death do us part” that will instruct your subconscious to put energy into finding things that will help make that happen and filter out distractions that will get in the way. You do this all of the time:

  • “I am going to remember where I parked my car.”
  • “I am going to get an A in my spelunking class.”

That’s why we call it, “Setting your mind on something.”

A good, holistic estate plan will help you focus on gigging the frog as well as gathering all of the equipment you need. I had an epiphany one day when talking to Ginger, who was seeking a divorce. All her problems could be traced back to her and her husband not being intentional about their finances. Ginger wanted to retire and her husband had expensive hobbies. They argued over money and the arguments got so vicious that she didn’t want to be married to him anymore — especially since her husband’s spending was putting her retirement at risk. 

It occurred to me that most of Ginger’s problems would have never materialized if she had marital property agreements, a financial plan, and an estate plan early in her marriage. 

A plan doesn’t make itself.

Working backward, a holistic estate plan not only covers how your spouse will be taken care of when you die but also how your estate will be managed while you are alive. Property allocated into separate estates held in trust gives maximum control over how it is distributed on death. Moreover, with the help of financial planners, the family’s trust assets can be managed so that Fred’s expensive boat restoration hobby doesn’t put stress on Ginger’s retirement goals. A major source of discord gets intentionally managed because everyone gets his own pond to gig in.

We don’t do estate plans because you are going to die. We do estate plans because you will always be together.