Last week, Charlie Lagarde won the top prize on a lottery scratch card which made her the enviable winner of $1,000 a week for life.
However, upon claiming her prize on the “Gagnant a vie!” Québec scratch card, the lottery winner was given the choice of taking a $1 million lump sum, or a payment of $1,000 a week for life.
Given that the winner was only 18, life could be a long time for her, but did she make the right decision about her winnings? A Californian Powerball winner chose to take his $228.4 million lottery winnings in annuity payments over the following 30 years.
Financial experts have said that the fact that she is so young means that mathematically she should earn more than the lump sum offering. It will take her just 19 years for her $1,000 a week to make $1 million, and by then she will only be 37 years old. If Ms Lagarde lives into her 80s, she could make more than $3 million thanks to her scratch card win.
“It removes all temptation to spend on things that feel like more of a priority at the age of 18 than they might later in life,” said a UK financial expert, Sarah Coles, explaining one of the reasons that Ms Lagarde may have considered for her choice. However, other experts warn that this might not be the best choice for everybody, and individual circumstances have to be taken into account. A New York Set for Life scratch card winner chose to take his $5 million in one lump sum, worth $2.7 million, while another New York winner of the same game decided that she’d take her big scratch card winnings as annual instalments of $260,000 before taxes.
For example, if the scratch card winner had big debts, or was paying off a mortgage, she might have chosen the lump sum to avoid interest costs. The possibility of taking the lump sum and investing it to achieve a higher return was floated, but experts calculated that due to the long life ahead of her, investing the $1,000 a week would give a better return. A New York winner of the $1,000,000 A Year for Life game decided to receive her money in yearly payments, and to share the prize with her two brothers.
All in all, it seems that Ms Lagarde made the best decision for her personal circumstances, but if she was 15 years older, it might have been a much tougher choice.
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