It has come to our attention, not through deep research but rather via a multitude of in-your-face emails, that “Black Friday” starts two weeks earlier this year. It may be that Black Friday has started early for several years now, but this year the pitch seems particularly strident. It is quite possible that retailers are picking up the concern that tapped-out consumers and slowing job creation will lead to a distinctly “meh” Christmas sales season. Inflation continues to run above the Fed’s 2% target, but the most recent trend (rate of change) appears to be moving in the right direction. Financial markets are anticipating a 65% chance of a rate cut in May 2024 (compared with a 34% chance Monday) where the multiple 2023 forecasted cuts evaporated year to date. On Tuesday, investors emphatically believed Powell will be more strategically patient (keep rates the same or maybe cut) rather than strategically restrictive (raise rates) and pushed higher bond prices (price up / yield down) and stock prices. On the wealth planning front, we discuss discuss the struggle of spending more in retirement.