14% of Americans have already started their holiday shopping -- and 2% are already done

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Some people like to do their holiday shopping early (CreditCards.com)

A scientific poll of 1,004 US adults conducted by CreditCards.com found that approximately 32 million people, or 11% of the US population, has already begun shopping for the holidays. Unbelievably, 2% have already finished. According to CreditCards.com, 7% of respondents over the age of 65 have gotten an early start, more than any other group, and almost 25% of those surveyed say they will finish their shopping by the end of November. One of the reasons given for the early start is to save money. “Last-minute shoppers are not able to do the comparison shopping the early shoppers can do,” Kathleen Gurney, CEO of Financial Psychology Corp. said. Others just want to be able to relax during the holidays and avoid the crowds.

A former No. 2 at the Fed thinks the Fed won’t hike in September (Business Insider)

Former Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn doesn’t think the Fed will raise rates in September. However, he believes a rate hike is definitely coming at some point this year. According to Kohn, “Don’t raise rates but issue a hawkish statement that a hike later this year is still the expectation, assuming data comes in roughly as expected.” He continued, “The advantage is that this wouldn’t surprise the markets, and it would be a sign that the Fed takes its inflation target seriously.”

Investment banks are giving aid to refugees (Financial News)

Wall Street banks are often called greedy. However, they have been anything but greedy when it comes to the refugee crises in Europe and Syria. Financial News reports, French bank BNP Paribas has matched €5 million donated by employees and customers to aid refugee projects across Europe. Goldman Sachs has made a £2 million donation towards emergency supplies in the Mediterranean with some of that money also going to refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, says Financial News. The donations don’t stop there as JP Morgan and its employees are said to be donating up to $US2 million towards relief efforts. Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse are also said to be chipping in.

Some millennials are ‘super savers’(Investment News)

There have been widespread reports millennials aren’t saving money towards retirement, but that isn’t entirely true. Retirement data collected by Fidelity found approximately 421,000 millennials (individuals aged 18-to-34) are putting away at least 15% (11% salary and 4% match) each month. These so-called ‘super savers’ make $US73,000 per year, on average, compared to the $US46,000 per year the non-savers make.

Merrill Lynch has the highest fees (Wealth Management)

Personal Capital’s Financial Savings Report, which obtained data from nearly 156,000 users, found Merrill Lynch charges clients the highest fees. According to Wealth Management, the report concluded Merrill “had the highest average expense ratios on mutual funds and ETFs (0.68 per cent) and the third highest average advisory fee (1.3 per cent) for an average total fee to the client of 1.98 per cent.” Over the course of 30 years those fees will total $US936,390, according to Personal Capital. Even the cheapest firm, USAA, would collect $US502,407 in fees over that time. Personal Capital founder and CEO Bill Harris told Wealth Management, “The seemingly trivial cost of fees, compounded over decades, adds up to astounding losses for retirement savers.”

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