16-year-old who blew $2.3 million lottery jackpot now struggles to support her disabled son
It's the question everyone is asked at some time or another: What would you do if you won a million dollars? Invested properly, you could be set for life and do whatever you wanted without ever having to worry about your next paycheck.
However, it seems when some people are actually offered financial freedom, they aren't so wise about making the money last. Cast in point, 16-year-old Callie Rogers who became the youngest lottery millionaire in Britain in 2003, with her winnings totaling approximately $2.3 million.
Those close to her assumed she'd be set for life, but now at just 31 years of age, Callie has frittered away most of her millions and is financially struggling to care for her disabled son, Blake, who has cerebral palsy and will likely need care for the rest of his life.
In the ten years that followed Callie's big win, she bought vacation homes for her self and several family members, boob jobs, drugs, and fancy cars. She even bought cars for her boyfriends, many of whom didn't stick around long after the first test drive.
Callie was living large without putting any thought toward inventing her winnings or saving for her future. The last of what she won is tied up in her grandparents' home, which is theirs for life but will revert back to Callie when they pass away.
Callie is happy there will be something left for her children, but it's a far cry from what they could have had if Callie had been wiser with her spending. However, just because she appeared to be living it up during her teens and twenties, doesn't mean Callie was happy.
To discover how her winnings blighted Callie's life, check out the video below:
It seems the money only brought her problems rather than happiness, which is why Callie attempted suicide twice in the years following her win. She has two older children, ages 11 and 13, who live with their father because of this.
Callie hit rock bottom. She claims that she had been attacked numerous times because everyone knew who she was and how much money she had. She claims that one-time friends turned on her, and she was attacked in the street. People vandalized her property, as well.
Just last year, Callie was beaten up by two acquaintances who had been dog-sitting for her then boyfriend. Callie came home after a night out only to have her nose broken and to be dragged around the house "like a rag doll". The pair are now facing jail time.
Once the money ran out, Callie also had to take a job as a cleaner. She eventually went back to school to study social care and now works as a carer. She lives in a small rented house with her son Blake and his two-year-old sister Georgia for a little over $500 per month.
She isn't on the streets, but her family now live a very modest life. "At the end of the month there is usually enough for a few treats, but I couldn't go out and buy a new car tomorrow. If I want a holiday, I have to save," Callie told the Daily Mail.
Looking back now, Callie wishes she hadn't won the jackpot and claims that a smaller amount would have been much more manageable. She believes that at the age of 16, she was just too young to know how to manage that amount of money that that perhaps the legal age to win the lotto in Britain should be raised to 21.
"I don't think any 16-year-old should be able to win the lottery, because at that age you just aren't equipped for it. And you can't do any other gambling until you are 18. Why is the Lottery different?" she said.
"I was buying houses when I didn't have the first idea about the responsibilities involved. I didn't know how to pay a bill because I'd never had to. I didn't know what council tax was," Callie added. "I'd go as far as to say anyone under 21 should have a win like that given to them in stages, like in America."
However, would someone of Callie's age with a better upbringing and support system have made a difference? Callie didn't have an easy life. She was born to an alcoholic mother and landed in the foster care system.
Yet, by the time of her lotto win, Callie was living with some stability with a foster family that she loved. She had a part-time job, friends, and a regular teenage life. But after winning the money, there seemed to be little support from anyone to guide her.
Callie says she regularly gave away her money to those who claimed they needed it. "Some lad said he owed $16,675 and was going to be in trouble if he didn't pay it, so I paid it. I was handing out $250 here, $400 there, sometimes more," she said.
Callie added, "My grandparents were doing a clear out recently and they gave me a box of stuff. There were old cheque books in it. I couldn't believe the cheques I had written for people. I remember sitting in a room drinking and people were using my card to buy MacBooks."
She had fallen in with a bit of a bad crowd after meeting her unemployed ex-boyfriend, and the father of her two eldest children, Nicky Lawson. The pair took exotic holidays, bought expensive cars, and dove into the drug scene.
Some reports claim they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on cocaine and other substances, but Callie insists it was never that much. "It was recreational stuff. It looks worse than it was," she claims.
Then, a later relationship with a man named Paul, who fathered Callie's younger children, saw Callie put up the down payment on a house but only had the ownership of that house in Paul's name. When the couple split, he kept their home.
It seems a series of bad decisions and negative influences led Callie to ultimately squander her fortune, but she has certainly learned her lesson. She now has a new man in her life, but the couple are taking things slow.
Now, Callie focuses on her children, especially on Blake and his special needs. She wants to raise them to know the value of money. "I’ll teach them that you have to work hard to earn your money," she said. Hopefully, she also teaches them how to spend what they have wisely too!