Most young people are often more concerned with other things than playing the lottery, which is probably why you don’t see that many winners aged 25 and below. That doesn’t mean they don’t exist though! In fact, many young people have won big and are now living lives many of us could have only dreamed of at their age. Some, however, couldn’t keep up with the lifestyle. Here are the stories of the youngest lottery winners so far:
Tracey Makin was only 16 years old when she won €1 million from the Lucky Dip lottery in 1998. Initially, the former supermarket employee from Belfast, Ireland thought that she had only won €10 but got the ultimate shock of her life when she learned of her big win.
Being young, one of the first things that crossed her mind was that she would never have to work again. While she didn’t end up living a luxurious life like most winners, Tracey managed to spend her winnings wisely. Thanks to the guidance of her parents, Tracey’s winnings have been tied up in investments. She is now holding a modest office job.
Callie Rogers became one of Britain’s youngest lottery winners when the then 16-year-old won £1.9 million in 2003. Unlike Tracey Makin, Callie didn’t waste any time spending her winnings on frivolous things. For her initial shopping spree, she spent:
Just a month after her big win, she also purchased a £180,000 bungalow so she could leave the foster care she was put in when her biological parents split up. She also gave her mother a new home worth £76,000. On top of all these, she and her friends would also frequently splurge on nights out.
Coming from a broken family and trying to make ends meet with a £3.60/hour checkout job at such a young age, Callie’s sudden gravitation towards luxury and escapism was, at the very least, understandable. Her new lifestyle, however, slowly took its toll on her, especially after she gave birth to her son Kian in 2005.
The pressures of being a mother combined with her unhealthy lifestyle eventually caught up with her. Callie considered suicide and took sleeping tablets along with some paracetamol. Fortunately, her family found her and took her to the hospital on time. In 2013, with just £2,000 left on her, Callie went on record to say that she was happier than ever.
In 1997, 17-year-old Stuart Donnelly took home £2 million from a £25 million jackpot that was split among 12 other winners. According to his family and friends, it didn’t take long for Stuart’s spending to spiral out of control. He became miserable just as quickly as he had won.
As soon as Stuart got his winnings, he abandoned everything. He left his hometown, his pharmaceutical studies, and even his part time job at a local chemist shop. And like many lottery winners, he began spending a ton of money.
He took his friends on a vacation to Thailand, bought a ticket to a football game worth £2,000, and purchased a £90,000 home for his mother. To his credit, Stuart’s spending spree wasn’t all about living the luxurious life—it was also about helping other people.
Stuart donated around £15,000 to a Glasgow hospital where his brother had been getting treatments for a genetic disorder. And, he also bought a secluded villa where he took care of his father—and best friend—Daniel, who was suffering from polio. Sadly, two years after Stuart’s big win, Daniel passed away.
Now alone in his mansion, Stuart became more and more reclusive. In 2003, he was quoted as saying that he was having a tough time with all the unwanted attention he was receiving. Seven years later, on January 6, 2010, Stuart Donnelly was found dead in his home. He was 29.
Jane Park, a former admin temp working for £8/hour, became Britain’s youngest Euromillions winner when she bagged a £1 million jackpot at age 17. It was her first time to play the lottery—luck was definitely on her side. The young millionaire quickly went on a spending spree. Some of her more expensive purchases include:
Now in her 20’s, Jane’s luck seems to be slowly, but steadily, running out. Despite living a luxurious life and splurging on holidays, expensive cars, and clothes, the young winner has become quite a magnet of misfortune since her big win.
Jane has had someone threaten to throw acid on her face and, on a separate occasion, hackers tried to extort money from the Scottish millionaire. She was also spotted trying to purchase a new Mercedes Benz while facing drink-driving charges. To make matters worse, Jane also lost £100,000 on a business venture that went nowhere.
Her list of misfortunes seems to go on and on. It’s become quite common to find a news story about Jane’s next run in with bad luck. She is well aware of it too and was actually trying to sue the lottery that made her rich because, according to her, the big win ruined her life. Jane was quoted as saying, “I have material things but apart from that my life is empty. What is my purpose in life?”
Brooklyn resident Robert Salo was only 18—a high school senior—when he scooped up a $1,000 a week for life prize from a $2 Win for Life ticket he bought on a whim. He became one of the youngest lottery winners in 2012, and just one week before his high school graduation.
With an annual income of $48,000 before taxes, Robert could have decided to not go to college or get a job. He could have gone on partying hard or travelling the world, but he wasn’t like many lottery winners. What set him apart was the fact that he wanted to use the money responsibly.
Robert wanted to invest in himself. He longed to be an electrical engineer, but he wasn’t sure he could afford it. But after winning, he decided it was time to pursue his dream and planned on attending an out-of-state college.
Ianthe Fullagar was only 18 when she nabbed a share of a Euromillions prize in 2008. The teen from Cumbria, who had been working for £4.75/hour as a waitress, took home £7 million. Initially, she thought that she had only matched a measly three numbers but was completely shocked when she learned that she had just won the jackpot.
In 2010, Ianthe was recognized as the 27th richest person in the United Kingdom. Today, she has a net worth of at least £10.5 million thanks to several smart investments. At the time of her win she said that she had hoped to start her own law practice one day.
Former construction worker Jonathan Vargas was only 19 when he won the $35.3 million US Powerball jackpot in 2008. At first, Jonthan lived large—partying hard and spending his money on frivolous things. But, unlike many lottery winners, he thought about how to maintain his newfound wealth, which is why he enrolled in a personal finance course.
Unfortunately, despite working on several business ventures, including creating an all-female wrestling TV show, his efforts did not pay off. His TV show lasted only one season and his other investments fizzled out as well. Rumor has it that Jonathan is now broke.
At 19, Michael Carroll wasn’t just one of the youngest winners of the National Lottery in 2002, he also became one of the most notorious. The Norfolk native, who won £9 million, began a life of luxury and excessive debauchery not long after his big win.
Not only did he spend £340,000 on a six-bedroom mansion, he also squandered his money on several luxury cars, parties, copious amounts of drugs, and women. Not content, he also held demolition derbies using the cars he had just bought, right in his own backyard.
A string of bad luck soon followed Michael. He got arrested twice; he got blackmailed; someone killed five of his dogs; and, ultimately, he lost all his winnings. He is now back at his job as a binman.
Shane Missler is the latest to join the youngest lotteries club as the 20-year-old won $450 million from the Mega Millions draw last January 5. He was the sole winner of the massive jackpot. According to a statement from Shane’s lawyer, the newly minted multi-millionaire will take home a lump sum of $281,874,999 after taxes.
Determined to succeed and not to follow in the footsteps of other lottery winners, Shane took a crash course in financial management soon after his big win. He says that while he fully intends to use his money responsibly, he also won’t forget to have fun along the way. Most importantly, he also vowed to take care of his family.
Leah Sumray won £1 million from a scratch-off card when she was just 21 in 2009. Soon after claiming her prize, Leah packed her bags and went off to take a vacation in Fuerteventura. Upon her return, she was arrested at Bristol Airport.
Apparently, the young millionaire ignored a court summons that would have seen her testify—and provide evidence—against a man facing assault charges. She was slapped with a £200 fine and received an extended 14-day vacation—in jail.
Kricket Slik of Hamilton, Ontario was only 21 when she became a multi-millionaire. The young Canadian bought a Quick Pick Lotto649 ticket on a whim and didn’t think much of it initially. When she and her boyfriend scanned the ticket the next day and it said she won big, Kricket thought the machine was broken. So, she tried scanning it again several times.
It kept saying the same thing. She was a big winner. Kricket was in shock—it wasn’t sinking in. Her boyfriend at the time thought she had only won $300 but her gut feeling said otherwise. She quickly signed the ticket and the pair went home.
Upon arriving home, they immediately hopped on the internet and checked the winning numbers. It was then that it finally sank in. Kricket just won $3,489,606.80.
Matt Topham and Cassey Carrington were only 22 when they became some of the youngest Euromillions winners, scooping up a massive £45 million payout in 2012. While the childhood sweethearts wasted no time enjoying their winnings—purchasing a house, sports cars and splurging on holidays—they were also quite generous. Not only did they buy cars for friends and take them on holidays, they also gave Matt’s best friend his very own house!
The couple married not long after winning and two years later, in 2014, their first child was born. Not everything went according to their plan though. Matt and Cassey had hoped to build an eco-friendly home, but it eventually fell through because they couldn’t get planning permission.
To top it off, the never moved in to the first home they bought—a seven-bedroom mansion in Nottingham—and was left in a state of disrepair. It became a hotbed of gang and drug activity, not to mention infested with rats. Still, despite their bad luck with housing, the couple seems to be doing better than a lot of lottery winners.
At age 22, Sandeep Singh became one of the youngest multimillionaires produced by the Mega Millions lottery. Sandeep, who was working two jobs to support his family, used his $4 winnings from a scratch card and purchased four Quick Pick Mega Millions tickets. One of the tickets ended up winning a huge payout.
The grand prize at stake was $61 million but because there was another who matched all numbers, it was divided into two which meant $30.5 million would go to each one (before taxes). Sandeep chose the lump sum option, so he took home approximately $16.1 million after taxes.
Sandeep, who had only been playing the lottery for a year, was initially in disbelief and It took a while to sink in. Once he collected his thoughts, he knew exactly what he wanted to do with his winnings. First, he said that he would pay off his mother’s mortgage and share a portion with his family. He was also adamant in donating some to charity. Finally, he made it clear that he wanted to complete his studies and get a bachelor’s degree in business.
Many people believe that Friday the 13s are unlucky but for Kelsey Zachow it’s the complete opposite. Kelsey was only 24 when she became a multimillionaire thanks to a Mega Millions ticket she bought on June 13, a Friday. The young mother wouldn’t learn of her big win until 11 days later though.
She had all but forgotten her latest lottery ticket and it sat inside her purse along with a bunch of other unchecked lottery tickets. On June 24, she realized that she had won the $66 million jackpot. Kelsey decided to take the lump sum option, leaving her with $27 million after taxes.
Apart from buying a house and several new cars, Kelsey also said she would save a portion of her winnings and put it into a college fund for her son, her boyfriend’s daughter, and her little brother Gus.
Luke Pittard isn’t like other lottery winners—and it’s not because of his young age. At age 25, when Luke won a £1.3 million jackpot in 2006, he immediately quit his job flipping burgers at McDonald’s. While it’s normal for lottery winners to quit their jobs and move on to something new, Luke went back to his old job only 18 months after his big win.
His reason? He missed his co-workers and he just loved working at the popular fast food joint. His co-workers thought he was mad for going back even though he is now a millionaire, but Luke simply told them that “there is more to life than money.”
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