After that comes the fun - and the responsibility - for employees of spending the money. Certified financial planner Kate Holmes, founder of Belmore Financial in Las Vegas, says she remembers watching her friends gleefully splurge with their unexpected checks 11 years ago.
But today, she urges responsible spending.
The dollar amount will be different for everyone. Her advice: come up with percentages on how you will allocate the money - for example, 50 percent to debt, 25 percent to savings and 25 percent to fun.
"This takes the emotional aspect out of it," Holmes says.