Are you too old to win the lottery?

Is 80 too old to win the lottery? How about the winners in their 90s?

Winning a lottery jackpot is supposed to change your life: suddenly you can start a business, go travelling, and treat your family as they are starting out in life. That's all very well if you're in the prime of life when you scoop a major prize, but what if you're 80 - or even older? Can you be too old to make the most of a lottery win?

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There have certainly been some older winners. Back in 2013, 84-year-old Gloria Mackenzie of Zephyrhills in Florida became the biggest ever sole lottery winner in America, when she scooped the jackpot of £370 million. She had to go public under state laws, but chose not to appear at the press conference.

In the UK we have had a winner who was even older. Reginald Smith, an 85-year-old from Uttoxeter in Staffordshire, won £2.3 million in 2003.

The oldest in recent months was Ervin Smolinski, who scooped £300,000 in March on the Michigan lottery at the age of 94 - on his birthday. He had apparently been buying his family lottery tickets on their birthdays for years, and they started to return the favour. In among the pile this year was a winning ticket from his daughter-in-law. He told reporters that the only purchases he had planned so far were a new car and a new shed.

However, the oldest winner of all time was Nguyen Van Het, from Vietnam, who won 7.6 billion Vietnamese Dong (about £235,000) in 2010. He was 97 at the time of the win, and bought a sack of rice for everyone living in the same alley.

Is this too old?

However old you are, life can always be made easier with a bit more cash - especially if you are on a low, fixed income, and have been struggling for years. However, if you have lost mobility or are in ill-health, it can be difficult to take full advantage of all the opportunities that the win brings.

There's an argument that it's far better to win when you can enjoy the cash for half your life - or longer. Reginald summed up his views after winning at the age of 85, saying: "I would have liked it to have happened about 20 or 30 years ago, but there you are."

There are also times when life is incredibly difficult to afford - such as when you are starting out, or when your children are young. It would be nice for a lottery winner to get the cash when they need it most - or when their offspring do - so it can have maximum impact.

However, a major win is perhaps far easier to cope with at an advanced age. You already have enough life experience to put the win into perspective, and you are more likely to be able to keep your feet on the ground. You only have to hear the stories of some of the younger winners, like Callie Rogers and Michael Carroll, who both won at the age of 19 and blew the lot, to see how winning when you are older may not be such a bad thing after all.

But what do you think? How old is too old for a lottery win? Let us know in the comments.

Biggest UK lottery winners

Biggest UK lottery winners