Home » Motivation: Words of Wisdom From Paul Milligan

Motivation: Words of Wisdom From Paul Milligan


Hey, friends!!  This is a post I wrote about two years ago that has some information that was super motivating and helpful to Rick and I as we began our “getting out of debt” journey.  Since this post continues to inspire our growing readership, I thought I’d run this again.  Hope you enjoy it!

Happy Monday, all!  I’m feeling led today to share with you some tidbits from the financial teaching that motivated us to turn our financial life around.   As I’ve mentioned before, we’d been terrible at managing our finances for most of our marriage.  We knew it, but just couldn’t seem to find the willpower to do anything about it. 

Then I came across a teaching by a Christian finance teacher by the name of Paul Milligan.  I listened to Part 1 and Part 2 of his personal and business finance class, and something about what he taught and how he taught it just opened our eyes to:

a.  how big the mess we were in was

b.  the fact that we could indeed get out of it if we worked the plan

I first watched the online video teaching in December of 2011, and by kinda sorta following the plan, we reduced out debt total by $6k in 2012.  I watched it again in the fall of this year, though, knowing that we weren’t putting in the effort we should be at this, and that’s when the light bulb really went off and we made a whole-hearted commitment to do this, starting January 1st of this year.  It’s a long video session (each link above is about 2 hours), so I thought I’d share with you all some of the notes I took while watching; some of the wise sayings that really stick with me as we work the plan.  The bold stuff is Paul Milligan’s, and my notes follow.   Whether or not you are a follower of Christ, I think you’ll find Paul’s stuff encouraging and entertaining.

12 Commandments of Prosperity

1.  We’ll always abuse what we don’t understand the purpose of.  One of the purposes of money is to love and serve and bless others.  I love this statement.  It gives me a whole new reason for not spending and getting out of debt.  There are so many out there who are less fortunate than we are, and who could really use our help.

2.  Our circumstance or situation will never determine our success or failure, but our attitude toward it will.  ‘nough said.

3.  The smallest amount of extra effort will separate the good from the best.  Every dime you don’t spend is a dime put toward debt, and all those dimes really do add up.

4.  The greatest gap in the world is between what we know and what we do.  This was SO us.  We knew what to do, we never did it.

5.  The key to prosperity is focus and obedience.  If you want to reach financial freedom, you have to be focused, and you have to obey your plan.

6.  It is a waste of time to do work that doesn’t serve your purpose.  Be careful with your time.  Figure out what your purpose is in life, and do things/work that promote it.  Grayson over at Debt Round Up is great at this.  He has a highly successful blog, but he wants to help more people, so he’s changing things up, even though they’re working well for him.  John at Frugal Rules is doing the same thing, even though his blog is highly successful as well.  Both of these guys have determined their purpose and are working daily to serve it.

7.  Challenges come to tell you you’re going to fail, but with challenge comes the opportunity to grow.  The Enemy uses challenges to destroy.  God uses challenges to overcome. 

8.  Most of us quit too soon because quitting seems easier or makes more sense.  It’s easier to quit.  Really, it is.  But you deserve better.

9.  Commit to your plan.  Commitment is your default no matter what happens.  Without commitment, don’t bother.

10.  Find your why.  Those who know why will always outdo those who know how.  See our list of whys here.  It’s really helped us to stay motivated during the tough times.

11.  Stop being a victim, and find someone to be accountable to for your spending.  This is why we started our blog.  We wanted to help others, and we wanted accountability.

12.  Your grattitude will determine your attitude and your attitude will determind your altitude.  If you want success where your money is concerned, be grateful for what you have now.

Recommended Reading: Financial Stewardship: Experience the Freedom of Turning Your Finances Over to God


1.  Commit to creating no more debt.  This is crucial.  If you aren’t totally “done” with creating debt, your plan won’t work.

2.  Formulate your plan.  You have to have a plan.  You can use other people’s tips/methods, but your life must have your own plan.  Pauline over at Reach Financial Independence explains this wonderfully here.

3.  Start now.  No, not tomorrow, or next month.  Start now.

4.  Accept personal responsibility for your debt.  If your debt continues to be someone else’s fault, you’re not ready.

5.  Focus on the details of your plan.  This is what will get you through.  Study your plan and re-read it for motivation.

6.  Obey the disciplines of your plan.  Focus without obedience is pointless.

7.  Persevere in the execution of your plan.  This is called stick-with-itness.  You must decide that you won’t give up, no matter how difficult it is.

I hope this list motivated you and encouraged you like it did us.  You really can get out of debt and achieve financial freedom, no matter what your situation is now.  Let’s do this!




  1. Great Post Laurie. Staying committed to your plan to pay of debt is huge. This has been tough for my wife and I as we are working to pay off a couple of credit cards, and medical bills. I know we can get back on top of things again but it will take time and persistence to make it all happen.

    • Laurie says:

      We’re in a tight spot too, Chris. But I’m confident that both you guys and we will achieve our goals because we are committed!

  2. Great post, Laurie. Love this, “The greatest gap in the world is between what we know and what we do.” It’s so true. We know what we need to do or stop doing, but it much harder to actually put it into action. I know a lot of people who “think” about the changes they need to make and spend all their time thinking rather than doing. You need to do both, but a lot of people get stuck on thinking. I’m glad you’re taking action and moving forward with the right attitude and plan.

  3. I think number 11 is very important. When you can finally accept responsibility and stop blaming everyone and everything for why you are in a bad situation, it gets much easier.

    • Laurie says:

      Isn’t it true, Tony? Paul explains things in ways that we know are true, yet haven’t been able to put it into words before.

  4. AverageJoe says:

    Powerful stuff, Laurie. I want to hear this guy mostly because you listened to his advice twice. Usually if it’s good enough to go back to again, there’s something there. There’s so much noise these days that people read stuff and then move on to the next disposable thing….

    • Laurie says:

      Joe, you’d like it, I think. Paul is just an Average Joe, so to speak, who through his techniques became financially free. Yet he’s still extremely down-to-earth and super eager to help others achieve their own dreams. And funny, on top of it. You’ll have to let me know what you think if you get the time to listen.

  5. Love this post Laurie! Thank you so much for sharing this as well as your wisdom. I love many of the points, but I especially like #11. It is so much easier to think that we’re victims, that we’re in situations not of our own doing and have no way to get out of it. That can be such a destructive and restrictive mentality to have and unfortunately holds way too many back. Keep up the great work, $6k in one year I nothing to sneeze at. Thank you as well for the kind words.

  6. Quitting too soon is an old personality flaw I’ve thankfully managed to ditch. Instant success is rare and even when you do manage it, it’s often followed by instant failure. Great post Laurie!

    • Laurie says:

      That’s great!! We are well on our way too, Mr. Bulldog. I totally agree about instant success/failure, too. I love th strength and perseverance that comes with having to take the long road sometimes.

  7. So interesting, I’ve never heard of Paul Milligan, I listen to the Dave Ramsey podcasts on my way to work. I started listening to him around the same time I started paying off my student debt. I’m going to bookmark this post for when I have a little extra time to watch the video.

    • Laurie says:

      KK, I would highly recommend it. Milligan talks about finances in a way I’ve never heard before. You’ll have to let me know what you think.

  8. “The key to prosperity is focus and obedience.” I love that! Focus and obedience is all about the follow through once you commit to a plan. It may be the hardest part, especially when life throws you curveballs or you have a lot of debt to pay off that will take a long time. Thanks for the great read!

  9. Thanks for re-sharing this since we were saving for a house (instead of paying off those six figures of student loans) at the time you shared this originally. Now that we’ve switched gears to paying off debt as fast as we can, this is meaningful.

    I love the part about attitude and gratitude. That is so true! I am a big fan of having a plan too!

    • jim says:

      Just wanted to let you know that my wife went to law school – and a private one at that. We had one child while she was in school and then later had another (after she had a job – thank God). We’ve pretty much been there and done what you guys are doing. My best advice – stay focused on your $ goals, but enjoy EVERY minute of those little ones lives. It goes by so quickly and you can have incredible memories/experiences really, really cheaply. Best of luck!

  10. I really enjoyed this one -> “Most of us quit too soon because quitting seems easier or makes more sense. It’s easier to quit. Really, it is. But you deserve better.” I definitely have given up on a number of things in life too early. Some things like personal finance are a marathon, though, and it simply does not make sense to quit a debt paydown plan, savings plan, etc., though it will be tempting to. It’s just so much easier quitting plans than committing to them!

    • Laurie says:

      It is easier, isn’t it? We come across that temptation often, but I know we’ll be glad if we stick through to our debt free goal. Thanks for weighing in, DC!

  11. Frugal Soldier says:

    A very good reminder of the importance of staying committed and accountable. Those tips can easily apply to every aspect of our lives. Thanks for sharing.

  12. I have only read your summary and not watched the videos, but I love love love how repeatedly this addresses the emotional aspects of money. Therein lies ALL of the challenging aspects, and this summary addresses so, so many different perspectives and thoughts on the topic. Maybe I can figure out how to stream the video while I’m on the treadmill later today.

  13. jim says:

    I just love your blog. Your spirit really comes thru. We started our “get out of debt” when you guys did – Jan, 2013 and it’s getting to be a bit of a drag, but somewhere, deep down in our souls, we’ve finally gotten it so as much as it’s going to take to suck it up and get it done, we’re going to do it. It’s so encouraging to hear from others who are doing it too. Best to you and yours. We are ALL well on our way. (even if it does suck on occasion) – ha!

    • Laurie says:

      Jim – I KNOW you guys can do this, just as you know we can do it. It’s amazing how people can see into each others’ hearts better than they can see into their own. Debt freedom will come, for both of our families, Jim, because we have the Perseverance Attitude. AND we have God. If He is for us, who can be against us? 🙂

  14. “4. Accept personal responsibility for your debt.” It took me a long, long time to get this one figured out. We felt like victims of circumstances for years. Only when we took responsibility did we have the power to change our situation.

  15. Your points about needing to stop incurring more debt and stop being a victim are really spot on. No-one likes to think of themselves as a victim but until you stop saying “Why me?”, that’s technically what’s happening! Great post Laurie, thank you for the motivation.

  16. Mrs. Maroon says:

    “The biggest gap in the world is between what you know and what you do.”
    I’ve never heard this before but it rings true for me. I have several areas of my life that is like to improve. The thing is I know what to do but fail to actually do it. Thanks for the advice!!

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