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She bought her first lottery ticket on her 18th birthday — and now she’s set for life

Charlie Lagarde, 18, receives the grand prize, a $1,000 weekly lifetime annuity, after playing the Canadian lottery game Gagnant à vie. (Loto-Quebec)
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Charlie Lagarde was celebrating her ascent into adulthood.

On her 18th birthday earlier this month, the Canadian teenager bought a bottle of sparkling wine and a $4 scratch lottery ticket at a nearby convenience store in Quebec — and, just like that, her future was off to a very nice start.

Loto-Québec officials said in a statement that after buying her first lottery ticket, Lagarde won the grand prize March 14 in the Gagnant à vie (Winner for life) game.

Her first major decision as an adult? The 18-year-old had to decide whether she wanted the $1 million lump sum (U.S. $773,800) or $1,000 per week (U.S. $773.80) for the rest of her life.

Lagarde waited a couple weeks to make up her mind, consulting a financial adviser and considering her options. Then she decided that, based on her age, she would accept the tax-free lifetime annuity, according to local reports.

An official with the lottery corporation said it’s the equivalent of a $100,000 annual salary before taxes.

The teen said she intends to invest in her education as well as do some traveling — one of her passions.

“I want to study photography. One of my dreams would be to work for National Geographic,” she said, according to the statement from lottery officials.

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Lagarde bought the lottery ticket at a Couche-Tard convenience store, but she waited to scratch it until she got back to her home in Montérégie, not far from Montreal, according to the Canadian Press news agency.

Lottery officials said in the statement earlier this week that she immediately told her family that she had won, and “everyone was euphoric at this stoke of luck.”

Prizes in Canadian dollars for the Gagnant à vie game range from $4 to the grand prize — the $1 million one-time payout or the $1,000 weekly lifetime annuity. Although the odds of winning something are about 1 in 2.5, the chances of taking home the top prize are only about 1 in 6 million, according to the lottery.

The Canadian Press reported that Lagarde, accompanied by family members and friends, made her way Monday to the Loto-Quebec headquarters in Montreal. There, she was presented with the customary giant check.

Patrice Lavoie, a spokesman for the lottery corporation, called it a “great start in life” for a “kind, down-to-earth and well-advised young lady.”

“She wants to pursue her education, study photography and dreams about working for National Geographic,” he said in a statement Wednesday to The Washington Post. “She was a real breath of fresh air when she came to our office to claim her prize, with friends and family. All of us at Loto-Quebec are really happy for her.”

This story has been updated.

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