"It's exciting to contemplate what you'd do with any amount of extra money, but it might cause you to make financial decisions that don't look so good in hindsight," said Kathryn Hauer, a certified financial planner with Aiken, South Carolina-based Wilson David Investment Advisors in a December interview.
Among the companies announcing worker windfalls, AT&T said it will give a $1,000 bonus to more than 200,000 U.S. employees; that applies to all union-represented, non-management and front-line managers. Comcast, which owns CNBC parent NBCUniversal, also said it plans to give $1,000 bonuses to more than 100,000 eligible employees.
Sinclair Broadcast Group of Baltimore said it will give a $1,000 bonus to almost 9,000 full- and part-time regular employees, and Bank of America said that U.S. employees earning up to $150,000 annually — about 145,000 workers — would get a $1,000 bonus by the end of last year.
Meanwhile, BB&T has announced it will pay $1,200 bonuses in January to almost three-fourths of the bank's associates (about 27,000), and said it would raise its minimum hourly pay rate to $15 from $12, effective Jan. 1.