Lottery winner Jane Park, now 21, says 17 was too young to take home $1.25 million with no guidance. According to the UK Mirror, Park felt that at 17 she was too young to deal with sudden wealth and what seemed like the ultimate prize at the time has now become a curse.
“At times it feels like winning the lottery has ruined my life. I thought it would make it 10 times better but it’s made it 10 times worse,” Park told the UK Mirror. “I wish I had no money most days,” she admitted. “I say to myself, ‘My life would be so much easier if I hadn’t won.'” Many might roll their eyes at a teenage millionaire complaining about the downfalls of living a wealthy life, but Park brings up an interesting perspective. Coming into that much money at a young age can definitely be confusing and overwhelming, especially when you’re not guided in the right direction.
Compared to the lives of her fellow 17-year-old friends, her life was completely changed. Park told the paper she became sick of shopping, missed working for a paycheck and has struggled to find a boyfriend who isn’t using her for her money. Before Park won the lottery in 2013, she made $10 an hour working as an administrative assistant and lived in a modest apartment with her mother in Edinburgh.
Now she owns a purple Range Rover, two residential properties and has traveled the globe but still struggles with feeling empty inside. “People look at me and think, ‘I wish I had her lifestyle, I wish I had her money,’” said Park. “They don’t realize the extent of my stress. I have material things but apart from that my life is empty,” she shared. Park said having it all has only made her question what her purpose is in life. Now she plans on filing a lawsuit against UK’s National Lottery, arguing it shouldn’t allow kids under 18 to play.
“You can’t give a 17-year-old that amount of money,” said Park.“I think 18 should be the minimum age for winning the lottery, at least. The current age of 16 is far too young.”
Park says she’s used her lottery winnings to pay for plastic surgery (getting breast implants at 18), designer shoes (her weakness) and clubbing. She says the fact that she’s wealthy at such a young age has created a disparity between her friends as she can no longer relate to their struggles.
“It’s scary how different my life is from my friends,” admitted Park. “When they say they’re stressed about money they mean their wages are [expletive].” Park, who is able to buy herself a car, multiple properties and any shoe or bag she desires, can’t relate. “There’s no one in the same boat as me, no-one who really understands. I feel like I’m a 40-year-old.”
The money has left her with no luck in the romance department either, revealing her past relationship lasted 18 months and ended in a heated argument. The 21-year-old says this is nothing new: “It’s left me with a massive guard up. With the last one, I showered him with gifts. I thought it would make him happy. I bought him a Rolex, a car, clothes every week.” Park said, “I regret it all.”
A spokesman for the British lottery firm, Camelot, argues the minimum legal age to play the lottery is something that should be discussed with the government. The spokesperson also said the company gave Park financial advice and connected her with other young lottery winners for support. Park says, however, that her family is the only thing that stopped her from ruining her life.
“I’ve read about other lottery winners who’ve just blown it all and I can totally see how it can be done,” she said. “I was stuck in front of a financial adviser who was using words like investment bonds. I had no clue what they meant.” Jane’s first purchase with her winnings was a Louis Vuitton handbag. But Jane Park still came to resent the money. The lottery winner says it’s made her life ten times worse and wishes she’d never won.
“I wish I had no money most days. I say to myself, ‘My life would be so much easier if I hadn’t won,’” admitted Park. It seems when you can have anything, everything begins to lose its appeal. Park says she is sick of shopping designer brands, struggling to find a good relationship, misses simple vacations that don’t involve upscale resorts and locations, and feels stresses a typical 21-year-old doesn’t have to face. Park just pleaded not guilty to being three times over the legal drinking limit in her BMW in a McDonald’s drive-through. Last May, Park was fined for assaulting a nightclub doorman.
But Jane said she’s grateful for the support of her family, particularly her siblings: “They think my win’s amazing. They’re very supportive of me. But they are very protective too.” Jane has since moved back into a small apartment with her mom. When Park won the money in 2013 she was merely an excited 17-year-old girl too young to even celebrate with a real bottle of champagne; she was given Scottish “fizzy pop” to celebrate her win when she decided to go public.
The 21-year-old has grown up quick since then, and Park admits she didn’t understand at the time how the money could have such an impact on her life. “My nana Anne told me, ‘You might as well have given me a gun.’ I was like, ‘Nana, what are you talking about? This is the best thing ever?’ But now I totally agree,” said Park. “You can’t give a 17-year-old that amount of money.” When Park was asked in an interview if she ever considered ridding herself of the money to relieve her burden, she replied “What? Nah.”