North Dakota Millionaires: Money Hasn’t Changed Them

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In North Dakota, an oil boom has made wealthy people out of several landowners, but they say that it hasn’t changed them or their lifestyles much.

The oil there is so copious that when a company drills a well on a property, the owner finds themselves receiving royalty checks upwards of $60,000 a month, and some get up to $100,000 a month. The boom has caused a huge surge in per-person income–nearly doubling it in 2010–making North Dakota one of the wealthiest states in the country. The thriving economy means high-paying jobs are a side effect, something locals are grateful for.

But there aren’t a lot of young folks taking advantage of the business, and the farmers and other landowners there say they just don’t have a need to spend lavishly, no matter what their checking account balance is. In fact, they say there’s really only one thing anyone splurges on: pickup trucks.

“They are a lot more elaborate, a lot more loaded up than what they used to be, even the accessories,” Gary Evans, co-owner of Prairie Motors said. “There is a big demand for accessorizing a pickup truck – everything from running boards to grill guards to chrome wheels.”

75-year old Robert Western says he and his fellow farmers just don’t have a lot of needs.

“Some of the younger people buy a lot more – machinery, vehicles, things like that,” said the 75-year-old Mr. Western. “The rest of us, I guess it doesn’t alter our lifestyle a great deal. I don’t have a lot of needs.”

North Dakota Millionaires: Money Hasn’t Changed Them
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