Could your maiden name be worth over $500,000?

A recent Dutch study at the University of Tilburg is concluding that women who keep their maiden names after marriage are seen as more professional and more likely to win good jobs and earn higher pay.

The University professors estimated that this would equal out to over $500,000 over the course of a woman’s career, simply because she kept her name.

“According to the Dutch data, women who kept their names had higher average education levels and fewer children, and that they worked more and had higher salaries.”

The study found that women who did not change their names were viewed as independent and ambitious, whereas women who did take their husbands’ names were “judged to be caring, dependent and emotional”.

Via Name Candy



If you started with your maiden name and publish under it or are well known under that name, f you change your last name, it can make it more difficult to find you, especially if you aren’t exactly a famous household name.

Lots of people Google or use LinkedIn to find former colleagues, and if they don’t know you’ve gotten married in the past 10 years, they won’t locate you.

Men don’t have this “problem” because they don’t take their wife’s name, although I’ve heard of couples merging their last names together to create a hybrid.

Like: Jones + Baker = Joker

Okay… bad example but you know what I mean. 😉

Seen as independent

The article mentions that women who keep their own last name instead of “conforming” to tradition are seen as more forward thinking or independent.

I know lots of girls who have done this and they say it’s a hit and a miss.

The hits are that they don’t have to change anything (cards, email address, official documents), but the misses are when people get confused that your husband doesn’t share your same surname and they think you’re living in sin 😉


Email address more effective

Hahaha. Keep your maiden email address. It’s way more effective at locating you than your name itself.

If you do change your name and your email address, then get all your mail forwarded over to the new one and inform them of the change.

Phone numbers come and go, but email is forever 😉

Industry may not care

In an industry where you have to publish articles or everything hinges on your name and people knowing who you are, then I’d say it’s more important to keep your surname.

But in other industries such as mine, no one cares what my name is because they only search by my project background.

My surname, even my name is secondary to my company experience.

Women share similar traits

Just because someone keeps their last name, it doesn’t mean that they’ll make $500,000 more in a lifetime.

However, women who may lean towards the choice of keeping their own last name may share similar personality traits of being more career-oriented, may have less children (or none at all, like my friend) and be more ambitious.

None of the above is conclusive, but it’s still interesting fodder for discussion nonetheless!

What do you think?

Can a woman make more money if she keeps her last name?



About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.