Historically, the lottery is mainly played by people over thirty years old but there have been some amazing stories of some very young American lottery jackpot winners. They were youngsters that became interested in playing the game a bit earlier than most and their dreams came true.
Our story today tells of a few of them that won big on the USA Powerball over the last few years and they have proved that lottery jackpots can be won at an early age.
Manuel Franco won $768 Million at just 24 years old
Not only was 24-year-old Manuel Franco from Wisconsin one of the youngest players to win on the USA Powerball, but he was also the biggest Powerball winner of all time on a single ticket when he won a staggering $768.4 million jackpot on the 27th of March 2019 which was also the second-biggest jackpot in the game.
Even though he was a youngster, he had a passion for playing the lottery that went back to when he bought his first ticket on his eighteenth birthday and has been a regular lottery player ever since.
On that life-changing day, Manuel had a really good feeling about playing the Powerball lottery and somehow knew it was going to be a good day for him and bought ten dollars worth of Powerball tickets from a Speedway store. Just after buying the tickets he knew something big was about to happen and told the press that he wanted to look at the security camera to mark down the moment he bought his lucky tickets.
He chose to take the cash payment for his jackpot win which worked out to be worth $477 million and after taxes, he took home $326 million and now he is a Powerball winning multi-millionaire, Manuel plans to be very careful with his money. He said, “I’m sure you’ll never see me as like one of the people who went bankrupt or broke or anything like that.” He also hired a team of financial advisers to help him manage his fortune. He went on “I plan to live my life normal as much as possible.”
Farrah Slad won $150 Million at only 21 years old
Back in June of 1999, Farrah Slad became one of the youngest Powerball winners of all time when at only twenty-one years old, she won a massive $150 million. She had just two weeks left on her accommodation lease and planned to look at some new housing options fast but her parents invited her to dinner and she didn’t around to checking out a new place to live. She had just $20 left in her purse and stopped to put in $15 worth of gas in her car and while she was at the gas station, she spent her last $5 on Powerball tickets.
During dinner, Farah and her parents watched a movie and taped the news to check out later if they had any luck with the Powerball draw. She could not believe her luck when she saw the numbers on the TV screen matched her ticket numbers. She let her dad double-check the numbers and they were all blown away. “We did not know if the numbers had to be in a certain order. We really didn’t know anything other than we believed my ticket had won something.” She hardly slept that night and the whole family watched the news the following morning. After they announced a Powerball winner from Minnesota, they knew for certain Farrah had won the $150 million prize.
Farah phoned her boss and said there was a family emergency that she had to attend to so she could get out of going to work that particular day. “I didn’t call in rich,” she said laughing. She became a huge media sensation when she went to collect her Powerball prize. She recalled that during her early years as a lottery winner it was rather scary. She said, “There were many times I wish I had never won at all”. So what did she do with her money? “I bought cars, I went out with my friends, I bought my first house and season tickets to the Vikings. I did some silly stuff, but I had a good time doing it.”
And that was about all she spent her money on. These days, many years on, Farrah remains living in Brainerd Lakes, Minnesota with her husband and two kids. She does volunteer work at the local village school and many other NGOs. Her story is rather special and inspiring as she was a young lottery winner who became a wonderful mother who gave back to her community.
Tim Schultz won $28 Million at age 21 years old.
It was a good year for young Powerball winners in 1999 as it was having a bit of a running streak of youngsters taking home jackpots. In February of that year, twenty-one-year-old Tim Schultz of Des Moines, Iowa won a $28 million cash prize. Tim was a college student who worked at a convenience store so he could pay his bills while studying.
He said the thing that inspired him to buy a Powerball lottery ticket was a dream he had in which he won the lottery. He sold himself a ticket from the store and one of his work colleagues, twenty-year-old Sarah Eldar said she wanted to buy half of his ticket. Once Tim discovered he’d matched the winning Powerball numbers, Sarah said she wanted her share of the winnings. They went to court over the matter which ended up nearly jeopardising the whole prize collection process for them both.
Lottery laws differ in each state of the USA such as the lottery winner anonymity laws and the age limits for playing the game. It turned out that in the state of Iowa, you have to be at least twenty-one years old to play lotteries and that made Sarah ineligible to play. They ended up settling their differences out of court where Sarah renounced all claims to the jackpot prize. After Tim collected his Powerball prize, it changed his life completely as he was always trying to make ends meet each month but since his win, he hasn’t had any financial problems.
Frederick Walker won $2 Million at only 19 years old.
In early 2016, there was a lottery feeding frenzy when the Powerball jackpot reached a gigantic and legendary $1.58 billion jackpot prize. People from all over the world were buying tickets and just about every person in the USA had bought a ticket. There were queues outside the ticket sellers going around the block on many of the streets in the country. The online players had it a lot easier but the ticket sales were through the roof.
Then there was nineteen-year-old Frederick Walker from Florida who had dreamt about becoming a billionaire from a very young age but this was his first time playing the lottery. He found a form that someone else had already put the numbers on but just left it on the table so he presented at the counter as his numbers and bought his ticket. “When I heard about the billion-dollar Powerball jackpot, I decided to try my luck and buy a ticket,” he said. “I got to the store, and there was already a completed play slip at the play station.” It turned out to be a good move on his part because the numbers from that play slip matched all of the five main numbers in the main draw where he ended up with the second prize of $1 million but doubled up to $2 million as he’d used the ‘Power Play’ option.
Jay Vargas won $35.3 Million at the young age of 19 years old
Nineteen-year-old Jay Vargas from South Carolina was the youngest Powerball jackpot prize winner when he matched all six winning numbers and won $35.3 million in May of 2008. Apparently it wasn’t a coincidence according to Jay as he told the press that he owed his winnings to God.
He worked on a construction site and he said while there he had a vision that he saw the winning numbers for the Powerball jackpot in his mind and quickly wrote them down on a napkin as that was the only paper he could find. He then phoned his mother to write them down so he could play them later.
He played them later on and won with those numbers which were 12-14-15-21-43 with the Powerball being 30. The main numbers of his vision were the ages that his mother and siblings were turning at that time. He got the Powerball number from the expiry date on a carton. Jay started well “Investing money was very important. I have my family to protect and help secure their futures” he said while at a press conference.
He was quite the entrepreneur and was as good as his word when he went on to invest his Powerball money and created ‘Wrestlicious’ which was a wrestling show that included very scantily clad girls. It didn’t end well as unfortunately for Jay, show business can be very cruel and the show went bankrupt after a year and he ended up losing his Powerball fortune. Apparently there is talk to possibly bring back his concept as a reality show and Wrestlicious may even be rebooted. We hope so for Jay’s sake as he tried hard to make it work.
We love it when anyone wins a lottery jackpot and most of the above youngsters have done well or at least tried to. It doesn’t matter what age you are, you deserve to win a nice big lump of lottery cash so don’t give up and remember you have to be in it to win it.