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Will Changing Your Name Make You Poor?

New study says taking your husband’s name could drastically reduce your lifetime income!

As you may recall, I've been back and forth on the whole name-change issue. After a few years of marriage, I did finally legally change my name, but I still use my maiden name professionally. As a writer, I felt that it was important for all of my clips to remain under a single name. Plus, I wasn't exactly 21 years old when I got hitched. I think that wanting to retain my name professionally had a lot to do with the fact that I supported myself for so many years. But OMG, this story from ABC News gave me a serious what-the-WHAT moment.

Here's the line that did it: "Researchers 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 the journal Basic and Applied Social Psychology."

The story didn't dig any deeper into the 2010 study, so I'll have to do a little more research before I can form any firm conclusions. But right now, my gut says that there’s probably more of a correlative (rather than causal) connection between income and name changes. In other words, women who tend to make less money are more likely to change their names -- not women make less money because they change their names. But I have to confess, the part about the personal judgments bugged the crap out of me too. I don't think of women who change their names as being older, less motivated or less educated at all!

What do you guys think?

-- Holly

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