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The National Lottery celebrates its 25th birthday

Written by: Emma Lunn
But how much could punters have accumulated if they saved or invested their money instead?

The National Lottery is 25-years-old on 19 November. If you’d bought a ticket once a week, every week since launch you’d have spent £1,625.

But AJ Bell calculated that the same stake invested each week would have generated a pot of £4,000 today.

The first ever lottery prize was £839,254 per person, with seven winners taking it home. To keep pace with inflation that pot would need to be £1.6m today.

If the first winners left their £839,254 prize untouched, it would have grown to £2.9m today. Or they could have taken a £42,000-a-year income and not touched the capital (based on withdrawing 5 per cent a year and the funds growing by 5 per cent a year after fees).

The jackpot this week is estimated to be £7.2m, giving a single winner a £360,000 annual income without touching the pot (based on withdrawing 5 per cent a year and the funds growing by 5 per cent a year after fees).

To have generated that same £7.2m pot over the past 25 years you’d have to have invested £145,000 a year.

Laura Suter, personal finance analyst at investment platform AJ Bell, said: “It’s been 25 years since the first National Lottery draw on November 19th 1994. And despite the first draw failing to make the UK its first lottery millionaire, as seven people picked the top numbers, the National Lottery has gone on to make 5,550 people millionaires.

“Loyal players who took a flutter on Lotto once a week every week since its launch would have bet a total of £1,625. Based on the fact that you have a one in more than 45 million chance of winning the Lotto draw, many will have come away empty handed. If they’d invested that stake each week instead they could be sitting on £4,000 today, or almost £8,000 if you bought two tickets a week.

“Instead of taking a flutter on the Lotto you could put a regular amount into investing, and hope that it returns more over the next 25 years. While it won’t make you a millionaire instantly, your chances of increasing your money are higher.”

You can start regular investing for just £25 a month, which is around £5.80 a week – so less than the cost of three Lotto tickets. And by putting in this £25 you could have a pot worth £1,740 after just five years, and after 15 years you’d have almost £7,000 (Based on 5 per cent annual return after fees) to play with.

“If you are set on becoming a millionaire you’d need to significantly up your regular savings,” added Suter, “To hit the £1m mark after 25 years you’d have to pay in £20,000 every year, or £1,666 a month – equivalent to 194 Lotto tickets each week.”

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