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What Happened Last Week and What It Means to You: Week Ending December 29, 2023

It is our hope that 2024 brings you all the love and joy of family, faith, and commitment to making the best of every opportunity. As we face both known and unknown challenges of the coming year, it is our prayer for us all that we find the strength and courage to persevere when challenged and the wisdom to listen and truly enjoy the serenity of the moment when it is presented.

While the economic data was muted this week as the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was closed for the holidays, there were some details in Federal and State policy that will surely get your attention and impact your finances.


The New year rang in “the year with more regulations and higher costs”…In 2023 the Biden administration surpasses both Trump and Obama combined and created over $745 billion worth of regulations in 2023 and much of those regulations go into effect this year according to information supplied by the American Action Forum (AAF).

What does it mean – 2024 is set to cost businesses and taxpayers three quarters of a $ trillion in new regulations and millions of new hours of paperwork. Don’t worry, “new regulations that increase costs and demand more paperwork are not inflationary.”

According to AAF analyst Dan Goldbeck “Since January 1, 2023, the federal government has published $745.2 billion in total net costs (with $129.2 billion in new costs from finalized rules) and 251.3 million hours of net annual paperwork burden increases (with 60.5 million hours in coming from final rules),”

You just can’t make this up. In just 4 days, between Dec. 26 to Dec. 29, which was shortened due to Christmas Day, the administration added $45.6 billion in total costs and added 43.4 million annual paperwork burden hours, according to Goldbeck. If you could invest in the Federal Government, along with the last 50 years, 2024 would make you rich. Unfortunately, you can’t, and the government won’t solve your problems. Yet, at the cost of the taxpayer and businesses that create and hire people to produce goods and services that meet the needs of the consumer and solve their problems, costs are going up due to massive increase in regulations. 2024 is lined up to be one heck of a year for new regulations, increased costs, and more paperwork.


It’s not just the Federal Government…Several states are all in on more regulation and taxes.

What does it mean – As of Jan. 1, major retailers in California will be fined if they don’t sell “gender-neutral” children’s toys in their stores. I have to ask, who is going to police this and what will that cost the taxpayers of CA?

Also starting in 2024, CA will ban the sale of any gas-powered lawnmowers, leaf blowers, chainsaws, or yard care equipment. Tens of thousands of workers in CA who relied on this equipment for their business will be affected by the new rules and regulations. This will absolutely affect millions of people who use their services or supply and service the equipment. Oh, and let’s not forget to mention that the government’s own studies create more concerns over the efficacy and cost of electric powered alternatives according to The Sacramento Bee.

Small business owner and landscaper, Rafael Guzman told the Bee that big business would be the only ones to survive the new law. He went on to say that landscaping jobs with electric-powered equipment would take longer “because the machines don’t have the same potential.” This will drive up the costs for every home and business.

Not to be outdone, MI Governor Whitmer signed the clean Energy and Climate Action Package Act in November which seeks to make MI 100% carbon free by 2040. The act would require all the state’s utilities to increasingly source from green energy, like solar and wind power, or from nuclear, hydrogen, and natural gas. With out any regard to reality, Whitmer claims that Michigan’s new green energy laws will save the state’s residents approximately $145 a year on utility expenses, but residents can expect to pay thousands more in supplemental energy costs per year under the green energy plan according to studies and analysis by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

Claims have been made yet; I could not find one independent study cited by the media. We only need to look at China’s actions. They are building 1,000’s of coal plants. Like many Americans, China recognizes that green energy is inefficient and extremely expensive when it is not subsidized by the taxpayer, you. These rules and regulations put average American at a serious disadvantage and even worse undermines our ability to compete internationally.

Illinois raises the bar for aiding and abetting criminals. Landlords, homeowners, and property owners in Illinois will be required under state law to rent or sell property to noncitizens and illegal aliens beginning on Jan. 1. This means that being here in the US illegally, which means that the very first thing this person did was to violate our immigration laws making them an illegal alien and here in our country illegal. Now rewarded them with access to owning or renting property competing with citizens for those same homes or rentals. Yet, citizens who currently rent or want to buy go through a background check with the bank, credit union, or rental agency when they fill out an application for rent or a mortgage that asks if you are a citizen. I guess we can throw out the benefits of being a citizen in our country if we do not uphold the rule of law. HMMM.

According to a separate bill in IL, illegal immigrants will also be allowed to obtain a standard driver’s license starting in mid-2024. How do they pass a background check on that or apply for insurance if they have broken the federal law? Forget the plethora of federal laws that this violates and your rights as a citizen and the protection we deserve as citizens and pay for as taxpayers, your insurance is about to go up along with the cost of government, driving, renting, or buying property. The competition created by these regulations and new laws will increase the costs and only promote more illegal behavior.


U-Haul Index…Guess which state came in dead last again?

What does it mean – California!! Or on the brighter side the number one state for people fleeing for economic freedom, safety, education, and jobs. Citizens of CA are exiting at record numbers according to U-Haul. Evidently, elected officials in Sacramento and Governor Newsome have not kept up on the reality of their policies. Since COVID U-Haul has announced several times that they ran out of trucks and trailers in CA for out of state moves. Meaning, if you rented in CA, you could only drop the trailer or truck off in CA.

I have always said that the dollar is like water, it always moves to the area of least resistance. CA, MI, IL, NY, NJ, MA, and a few others are proving that citizens are a lot like water. They will only tolerate so much. My problem is I see a problem and I want to fix it. Just plain stubborn.

When the government mandates what you buy or what is available it is called socialism. When they penalize and threaten you with fines, prison and use of force or the threat of a weapon to enforce a law you did not vote for, we still call this communism. I remember when the schools taught our children the Constitution and the meaning of “Taxation Without Representation” and the results of those actions. Thank God for our founding fathers. It created the greatest nation on earth. The USA.

Let’s make 2024 the year of economic freedom and accountability. Ask yourself, what does economic freedom mean to you. What are your personal and family goals, aspirations, concerns, or causes that you care about? We look forward to serving and earning your trust every day.


Let’s roll America!!

Doug De Groote, CFP®, MBA, CTC
Managing Director

De Groote Financial Group, LLC is a federally registered investment adviser that maintains a principal office in the State of California. The information contained in this message is confidential, protected from disclosure and may be legally privileged. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient or an employee or agent responsible for delivering this message to the intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any disclosure, distribution, copying, or any action taken or action omitted in reliance on it, is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. If you have received this communication in error, please notify us immediately by replying to this message and destroy the material in its entirety, whether in electronic or hard copy format.

Jeannie Ewing-Nicholson

Operations Manager

Jeannie started her career in the Financial Services industry in 1994 with Oppenheimer & Company. As part of the De Groote Financial Group, Jeannie is responsible for the operational needs of the firm including cash management and account administration. With her upbeat attitude and attention to detail, Jeannie provides an efficient streamlines experience to ensure clients meet their goals. Jeannie enjoys travel, outdoor activities, Pilates, and is a football and basketball fan. She resides in Westlake Village with her husband, daughter and son.

Mary-Ellen Lykken

Executive Assistant

Mary-Ellen, Executive Assistant at DFG, keeps the office running smoothly by providing administrative support and assisting with scheduling and organization. With a background in human resource and office management, Mary-Ellen comes from the non-profit and services industries.

Outside of the office, Mary-Ellen is committed to the advancement of independence and productivity for those with disabilities. By telling her story of the challenges and joys of raising a child with complicated disabilities, she hopes to help others navigate similar circumstances.

She is happiest when visiting her two grown sons. Otherwise, you can find her competing on the pickleball courts.

Sara Mariniello

Operations Manager

Sara is new to the financial industry only starting in 2022 when she was hired at De Groote Financial. As Operations Manager, Sara is responsible for all the paperwork surrounding opening accounts and investment paperwork and is also responsible for much of the client communication. Sara has her bachelor’s in science and nursing from Concordia University, Texas and worked as nurse for over a year prior to moving back to California. She loves all things sports and church related and is likely spending every free moment with her Husband visiting family in Texas and New Jersey.

Fadi Ahmed

Chief Operations Officer and Chief Compliance Officer

Fadi works with clients to ensure an exceptional experience. He coordinates and assures the planning process and wealth management tools are at your fingertips to provide the clarity you deserve and the transparency and access to all your accounts. Fadi ensures the data and information is reflective in our planning software. All changes and updates flow through his desk and he coordinates those changes with the rest of our team.

Andrew Krout

Wealth Advisor, Co-Chief Investment Officer

Andrew Krout is a Wealth Advisor at De Groote Financial Group, LLC. He also serves as a Co-Chief Investment Officer for the firm, focused on wealth management.

Previously, Andrew served as CIO with Kelly Financial in Boston Massachusetts since 2013. He is a licensed investment advisor representative and insurance producer. He graduated from Saint Francis University with a bachelor’s degree in both finance and accounting. He is a candidate for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation. Andrew holds life insurance licenses in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut.

Andrew is passionate about serving his clients and investment management and how to apply news and current events to investment decisions. He played Division 1 golf in college, and still enjoys playing and watching the sport in his free time.

David Darst

Co-Chief Information Officer

David Martin Darst, CFA is an Investment Advisor to DeGroote Financial Group, specializing in asset allocation and product selection. Previously, David served for 17 years as a Managing Director and Chief Investment Strategist at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, with the responsibility for Asset Allocation and Investment Strategy. He joined Morgan Stanley in 1996 from Goldman Sachs, where he held Senior Management Posts within the Equities Division and earlier, for six years as Resident Manager of their Private Bank in Zurich.

David is the author of 13 books, including bestsellers The Art of Asset Allocation, 2nd Edition (McGraw-Hill), and The Little Book that Still Saves Your Assets (John Wiley & Sons). He also appears as a frequent guest on CNBC, Bloomberg, FOX, PBS, and others, and has contributed articles across a variety of publications.

David graduated with a BA in Economics from Yale University, and earned his MBA from Harvard Business School. He has lectured extensively at Wharton, Columbia, INSEAD, and New York University Business Schools, and for nine years, David served as a visiting member at Yale College, Yale School of Management, and Harvard Business School. He is a CFA Charterholder and a member of the New York Society of Security Analysts and the CFA Institute. 

Doug De Groote

Managing Director

Doug is a Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®) with an MBA in Financial Planning, and is an active member of the Financial Planning Association (FPA). Before establishing De Groote Financial Group, Doug founded the United Wealth Management division of United Capital. Prior to that, Doug was a partner at Crowell, Weedon and Co. He regularly contributes to a variety of financial and general media.

Doug’s passion, and what he believes, is that everyone deserves the opportunity; they deserve to have the freedom and responsibility to be pro-active in achieving independence and financial success.

Doug’s life is focused around his family, wife and three children, and making sure they get the foundation that is necessary for them to have the awareness of the opportunities that abound in our great country.

Doug helps increase his client’s awareness and success, to identify and take advantage of opportunities that present themselves and help protect them from some of the pitfalls or obstacles that are thrown in our paths. With regards to their financial circumstances, Doug helps his clients identify their goals, plan for various outcomes and manage their assets to help them make their vision a reality.