Study Says Changing Your Name Could Cost You Thousands (Say What?)

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man wife and dog wedding name changeRemember that little letter I wrote to my husband explaining why I wasn’t yet ready to change my name to his? Well, according to a recent study I may be on to something here. Apparently new research has shown that it could save me a half a million dollars over my lifetime if I hold on to my maiden name. Shocking, right? Here’s the snippet word for word:

Researchers [at Tilburg Institute for Behavioral Economics Research] have suggested that women who change their name at marriage make nearly $400,000 less during their lifetimes than women who do not. They were judged by others as older, less educated and unmotivated compared to those who kept their own names — even if they were the same age and background, according to a 2010 study in in the journal Basic and Applied Social Psychology.

Those who took a husband’s name were viewed as “more caring, more dependent, less intelligent, more emotional, less competent, and less ambitious in comparison with a woman who kept her own name.”

Women who kept their maiden names were seen as “less caring, more independent, more ambitious, more intelligent, and more competent.”

Let me just go ahead and say that I think this is ridiculous. Not because I don’t believe these stereotypes exist in the workplace (we all know they do!) but because I don’t see how your boss would know that you’ve not taken your husband’s name unless you make a point of mentioning it. And, let’s be honest here, how often is that going to come up at the water cooler? I’m calling foul on this one. But the idea that something as simple as taking a stand on the whole married name change thing could save you that much cash over the year is certainly a fascinating one.
Thoughts girls and guys? I don’t think the topic gets any hotter than this!

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10 Responses to Study Says Changing Your Name Could Cost You Thousands (Say What?)

  1. theMRS. says:

    maybe I wont switch then….

  2. @PReinvented says:

    Ugh! We as women have enough on our plate. Research the reason why men think this way and then come back to me!

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  4. MsKaos says:

    "I don’t see how your boss would know that you’ve not taken your husband’s name unless you make a point of mentioning it. And, let’s be honest here, how often is that going to come up at the water cooler?"

    As someone who started working at my job when I was single and then got married and changed my name–trust me your boss and coworkers will know…if not at first, they will after you change your tax paperwork, email address, business cards etc to match your new name. Mentioning it is something else altogether though. I've worked with many high-level women that have done it, so it never came up as anything out of the ordinary. It's because of these archaic beliefs that on interviews I dont wear my wedding rings. A potential employer shouldnt know anything more about me than what's on my resume. I'll have plenty of time to flaunt my wedding bling after I get the job!

  5. Karen says:

    I call foul as well…I've been married for 4 months and just haven't gotten around to changing it. Going to DMV, SSA, paying for new passport, getting new credit cards, etc. holds no appeal and hubs could care less. I don't think my colleagues view me or any other married woman on our team as being any more or less competent or ambitious. But, I am regularly asked why the name on my door and email haven't changed yet – mostly by MEN.
    My recent post Newlywed Finances- Has the Great Recession Been Good for Marriages

  6. Argh, I like the conclusion here (don't change your name!) but the statistics are completely bogus. Classic failure to distinguish causation and correlation. Women who change their names earn much less but it's surely not *because* they changed their names. It's because the type of woman who changes her name is the type of woman who's less career focused.

  7. Danila says:

    Still, if you are to change your name after getting married – checkout services like http://www.simplenamechange.com – it allows for quick name change without issues.

  8. Lewin emphasized the importance of social action research, the study of relevant social problems with a view to introducing change. Reflecting his concern about racial problems, he conducted community studies on several topics–integrated housing and prejudice, equal employment opportunities, and the development and prevention of prejudice in childhood. His social action research transformed these issues into controlled research studies, applying the rigor of the experimental method without the artificiality of the academic laboratory.

  9. Pingback: Why I’m Not Changing My Last Name For Marriage | The Reflective Bride

  10. Ugh! We as women have enough on our plate. Research the reason why men think this way and then come back to me!

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