Who We Are

Your retirement starts with a good GRIP.

About Us
Mike Gilman
Founder, CPA

Leveraging his experience as a CPA, Mike specializes in finding solutions to help clients maximize their retirement income with a specific focus on tax efficiency.

The driving force behind GRIP Financial is his desire to go deeper with fewer clients and serve them with excellence. His passion for retirement planning stems from his desire to work one-on-one with each client and help them experience that light bulb moment when they see, understand, and have complete confidence in their retirement plan.

Mike has a broad perspective from his experience in the accounting and finance industry since 1996. Before his launch in personal financial planning, he began his career in public accounting. He later transitioned into Corporate Finance with Capital One, then Head of Mortgage Finance with SunTrust (now Truist).

Mike was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, and met his wife, Hollie, in elementary school. They married in 1996 and have three adult children, Jake, Holden (and his wife Hannah), and Casey. He enjoys spending time with his family — preferably on the golf course — and watching UVA Basketball. Go, Hoos!

Jake Gilman

Client Servicing and Operations

Jake brings his enthusiasm for creating excellent client relationships to the GRIP Financial team. With a background in banking and financial services, he has been helping clients implement planning solutions for six years, working closely with investment firms, insurance companies, banks, etc., to ensure a smooth process.

Whether he is answering general questions, taking care of details, or handling special requests, Jake endeavors to be the “Chief Solution Finder” for his clients and his teammates.

A Richmond, VA native, he is driven to make a positive, tangible difference in the workplace and the lives of people around him. One of his greatest enjoyments is returning each summer to serve as a camp counselor in the boys’ camp he attended throughout his childhood.

Mission & Values


We help clients realize their best retirement by illuminating the path from questions to confidence.

  • Confident in their retirement plan.
  • Confident we are being proactive.
  • Confident they can depend on us.
  • Confident we are stewarding resources appropriately.
  • Confident we are providing the guidance we would want to receive.

To be the most trusted retirement guide in the greater Richmond area dedicated to providing excellent, client-first solutions to help them achieve their goals and peace of mind.


We are committed to:

  • Acting in the best interest of each client.
  • Creating the best plan for them.
  • Using the best tools available.
  • Helping them live their best retirement.


We stand for:

  • Honor
    Some may call it integrity, principle, or the Golden Rule. We like to say it’s doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason.
  • Stewardship
    A steward is a trusted overseer of another’s valuables or property. We take our job seriously, and we do not take trust for granted.
  • Excellence
    In everything we do, we strive to be excellent in approach, performance, and principle.
  • Excitement
    Call us crazy, but we get excited about doing this work. It is energizing for us—and even fun! Passion is hard work plus energy.
  • Transparency
    Every advisor charges fees, but you don’t always see them. Our goal is to work hard for you at a competitive rate, and we put them on our front page, so you know what you are getting. No surprises.
  • Gratitude
    We believe being thankful makes us better stewards, excited to be a blessing, dedicated to giving our best, and appreciative of what we’ve been entrusted with. We are grateful for every opportunity and relationship.

What Does it Mean to Start With a Good GRIP?

Legendary golfer Ben Hogan once said, “Good golf begins with a good grip.” The same can be said for using a tennis racquet, pitching a baseball, or utilizing any tool.

When I was a kid, my parents added a deck onto the back of our house. I was mesmerized watching how the workers could drive the nail flush with the board in two rhythmic swings. I wanted to try my hand at it, too. I had been watching all day, so I knew I was up to the task.

They were friendly and allowed me to give it a few whacks, but of course, the nail didn’t budge. After watching me fail miserably, the first thing they corrected was my grip—not too tight, not too light, not too high on the handle, etc.

It must start with the right grip to get the best result. The same could be said for your retirement.

Two Ways to Think About a GRIP
The Stranglehold Approach

The first type of grip is like grabbing a rope and hanging on for dear life. That is a stranglehold – not a grip. Nothing will likely be gained when you apply this approach to retirement. Having a grip on your retirement does not mean holding on to your savings for dear life.

In contrast, the second type of GRIP is geared toward performance.

You have likely worked hard and done well. Effectively stewarding the resources you have been blessed with requires a good, firm GRIP on them – not a stranglehold. Money is not an end unto itself; it is simply the resource we employ to accomplish our dreams and goals.

In other words, your money is a tool to achieve your retirement dreams and goals, both for your current lifestyle and for your legacy.

The GRIP for Performance Approach
4 Fear-Based Mistakes in Retirement
Most people I talk with have a fear of running out of money in retirement
  • Do I have enough money to last in retirement?
  • Will I have to work part-time?
  • Do I have enough money to do the things I want to do?
  • Will I have to sell my house?

These questions stem from a lack of clarity, so even those with sufficient investments are not immune to them. Their gut reaction is to take the Stranglehold Approach–hanging on and hoping it lasts. To make the most of what you have, you need clear answers to these questions and many others. You need to know how these answers will affect your individual retirement.

Lack of clarity leads to lack of confidence, and lack of confidence can lead to costly decisions.

Here are the most common mistakes I see people make when they don’t have confidence in their plan:

  1. They spend less. They tend to tighten the reins and spend less to avoid dwindling their funds. Every decision they make is now based on how much something costs. On the rare occasion that they splurge, it is mixed with feelings of guilt.
  2. They work longer. They might think, “If I’m healthy, I might as well keep working.” They postpone their retirement dreams and add years of work and stress to their lives.
  3. They do less of what they want to do. They begin to cut back on their retirement plans. They travel less and enjoy fewer activities. They just do not do the things they want to do in their retirement years.
  4. They are too aggressive. It might not be as common, but some people take too much risk with their investments, gambling for a big payoff. Taking unnecessary risk does not solve for lack of confidence and could create problems that did not exist before.
Your Retirement GRIP

Starting with a good GRIP is about focusing on what is most important and  stewarding your assets. The GRIP Strategy is all about giving you the clarity and confidence to live out the retirement you want.

Clarity and Confidence
for Your Best Retirement

We start with a GOAL. The first crucial step is about you. You need to know what you want to build to choose the proper tools for the job. What is important to you? What have you imagined for your future?

  • Quit working and jump off the “corporate treadmill” by a certain age?
  • Pursue something you’ve always wanted to do—medical missions? A hobby? Travel?
  • Give generously to causes that are important to you?
  • Buy back your time to spend it with the people you care about?
  • Provide for children or grandchildren?

You fill in the blank. 

Retirement is a transition, not the end of being productive or purposeful. It’s about having the time and resources to invest in the people and causes you love.

The construction crew I watched as a kid was experienced. They knew common pitfalls and mistakes to be avoided. They knew how to leverage their tools to get the best results.

At GRIP, we come alongside you as a guide to leverage the tools you need to get the results you want. We answer your questions and create a strategic plan to bring you clarity and confidence.


It starts with you. Once we learn where you want to go, we develop your unique plan to take you there and keep you there.


We create a strategy for sufficient, dependable after-tax cash flow that covers how you want to live in retirement.
Reliable Cash Flow


Investment strategy builds on your goals and cash flow plan, not generalizations or rules of thumb, to determine your best allocation strategy. Your goals and cash flow are not the same as everyone else’s, so your investments should not be either.
Investment Strategy


Tax planning may be the biggest difference-maker in asset management. We look ahead to minimize taxes in every facet of your plan, mitigate the risks you might face, and develop your inheritance and estate planning strategy.
Protecting Assets
Schedule your discovery call to discuss your goals and learn how we help you get a firm GRIP on your future.