ByJonathan Sim, writer at
I'm a writer/film theorist. Check out my articles on Pixar, Harry Potter, Back to the Future, Die Hard, politics, and more!
Jonathan Sim

I know this isn't my normal style, since I usually post about Pixar, Harry Potter, and Back to the Future. But I just wanted to share this topic today.

Many watch the NBC reality/talent show, America's Got Talent, a talent show in which people show off their talent and continue on and fight for the top prize, which is $1 million and a headline show in Vegas. Well, you're going to get to headline a show at Vegas, but as you read in the title, the million dollar prize may very well be a sham, scam, or something that's false.

Let's start off with this: while I was watching some of the episodes on Hulu, I saw that at the end of the show, when the host, Nick Cannon, is talking to the camera, there are a bunch of words at the bottom. One of the sentences they give is this:

The prize, which totals $1,000,000, is payable in a financial annuity over forty years, or the contestant may choose to receive the present cash value of such annuity.

You know what that means?

This means that either they'll give you $25,000 per year over the course of the next 40 years, or they'll give you what they have right now and then you leave.

Jeff Hamrick, a math consultant at Reality Blurred, said that if we assume the annuity pays a fixed 5 percent interest rate, that would make the one-time payment worth $450,426. That, of course, would be subject to income taxes, so maybe the prize is worth $375,000, about a third of the advertised $1 million.

So you'll never be an "instant millionaire" despite all the effort you spend working on the show. You'll either get a third of a million or you'll get $25,000 per year, and considering the rate people spend money, you probably won't be able to save up all that money for the next forty years. And if you do, you'll either be dead or in a retirement home.

Let's take the most recent winner, Paul Zerdin. He's 43 and if he took the longer pay, he would only get a TOTAL of a million when he's 83, if he makes it to that.

The headline show prize isn't that fair, either. Paul won season 10, and magician Mat Franco won season 9. Paul headlined at the PH Showroom for three days with Piff the Magic Dragon and Drew Lynch. Mat is STILL headlining at The Linq and has been since August last year.

But don't get me wrong. I really want to watch Mat at The Linq.


If you won the show, which would you choose?


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