This teen won a lot of money on the first lottery ticket she ever bought

This teen won a lot of money on the first lottery ticket she ever bought

Buying lottery tickets seems like a waste of money. The chances are miniscule that you'll win, and all that cash you blow on tickets adds up. Why not spend it on something you can enjoy, rather than a worthless slip of paper? Then I read an article about someone winning a ton of money and my cynicism disappears - from now on, I'm buying lottery tickets every day.

In Montérégie, Quebec, Charlie LaGarde brought a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate her 18th birthday. On a whim, she decided to buy a $4 scratch lottery ticket, for the very first time. When she got home, she realized she won the grand prize: either a lump sum of $1,000,000, or payments of $1,000 every week, tax-free, for the rest of her life. After consulting with a financial advisor, she chose $1,000 every week, to avoid taxes.  (Are you feeling jealous yet? I know I am.)

LaGarde claimed her prize at the Loto-Quebec headquarters in Montreal, surrounded by friends and family. A spokesman for the lottery corporation, Patrice Lavoie, told the Canadian Press: "[The weekly installments are] without taxes, so it's equivalent to a salary of more than $100,000 a year, so it's a great start in life for that young lady.That was her first lottery ticket ever and she fell upon a winning ticket."

The average life expectancy for a woman in Canada is 83 years old, so if LaGarde lives that long, all those weekly winnings will add up to four million dollars - four times more than that lump sum. Actually, more than four times more, because the lump sum would be taxed.

When asked how she'll spend her winnings, LaGarde she plans to use the money to travel and her studies. "I want to study photography," she told lottery officials. "One of my dreams would be to work for National Geographic." Well, she should have no problem traveling to exotic locations to take photographs.

It's a tough decision to pick between a lump sum or weekly installments. Personally, I'd choose the weekly installments. When some lottery winners opt for a lump sum, they blow the money fast, because there's so much of it, and it's hard to resist the temptation to buy stuff. (Or cave in and give all the money away to your "friends" begging for hand-outs.)

LaGarde is the youngest person in North America to win such a large sum. Earlier this year, Shane Missler, a 20-year-old from Florida, won $451 million in the mega-millions lottery. He said he planned to retire and use the money for good. Before him, the youngest winner was 19-year-old Jonathan Vargas, who scored $35.3 million in 2008.

Well, I'm going to go blow all my whole paycheck on lottery tickets. The more you buy, the more likely it is you'll win!

In related news, this cancer patient won the lottery and then found out her treatment is working...