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November 04, 2021

How much of your lotto winnings would you give away?

For any story that hurts Canada’s rep on the global scale – like, according to investment guru Kevin O’Leary at least, our government’s blocking of BHP’s bid for PotashCorp – thank God for Allen and Violet Large.

You’ve no doubt heard by now about the Larges, a Nova Scotia couple in their 70s who gave away nearly all of their $11.2 million Lotto 6/49 winnings. Ninety-eight per cent, to be exact, according to the Star.

For their generosity, the big-hearted elderly pair has received international praise – their story’s appeared in the U.S. and U.K. already – but it also raises an interesting question: if you won the lotto, how much of your winnings would you give away?

132665_lottery_winner Certainly, handing out a chunk of your jackpot would be nothing new. When I was a newspaper reporter attending lottery winners’ press conferences, the first thing lucky Canadians would announce – to appease the cameras or not – is their intention to give part of their payout to charity.

Yet 98 per cent is a pretty whopping figure, making what the Larges did – giving an undisclosed, equal sum to their family members, then the rest to local churches, fire departments, hospitals and the Red Cross – commendable by any measure.

Commendable, and also genuinely modest. As if they couldn’t endear themselves to the world any further, the couple said the two per cent they did keep ($224,000 before tax) is just for a “rainy day.”

Not all of us would be as generous as the Larges, surely, but most would probably donate at least a little of their winnings – 76 per cent of this CBC poll said they would – to charities and worthwhile causes.

If you won the lottery, what percentage of your jackpot would you give away?

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...