Can Your Name Affect Your Salary

Can Your First Name Boost Your Salary?

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What's in a name? Lots and lots of "Benjamins," ($100 dollar bills, that is). Unless your name happens to be Benjamin, in which case, some research suggests, you had better stick with Ben.

The Ladders, an online job-matching site, recently crunched the numbers in its database of over 6 million career professionals to determine the top names for corporate executives as well as the names of the highest earners. They found that people with first names longer than five letters lose out on about $3,600 in salary every year—and that's per letter. So, for little Alexander that means potentially missing out on more than $500,000 over the course of a 40-year career.

Want insight on how names affect other aspects of life? Read on.

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They also compared people who went by their nicknames versus full names (Steve and Stephen or Debbie and Deborah, for instance). For only 1 name out of 24 pairings—Larry versus Lawrence—did the longer name, on average, earn more.

Before you run out and file for a legal name change, Jennifer Moss, the CEO of babynames.com, says she finds the results "interesting" but would like to see more data that digs a little deeper into specific socioeconomic and ethnic groups and different industries. "The tech industry employs many people who have immigrated from India, for example," she points out to Yahoo! Shine. "They commonly have longer names."

She also says you have to look at the ages of high-level professionals and what names were popular when they were born. "Some people say there are more Bobs who are CEOs. But, that was a popular name for boys in the 1960s, so they are now at that level in their careers."

Rather than choosing a short name for a child, Moss has other recommendations for parents who want to help their kids have the most positive social interactions, something which may eventually lead to better career opportunities.

  • The name should be easy to spell and easy to pronounce. "I've seen Jennifer spelled with a "g" and a "ph." That person is going to be spending the rest of her life spelling her name for people."
  • Try the name out. Introduce yourself out loud using the potential first and last name and see how it feels.
    If you are worried about teasing and bullying, ask some children about your name ideas.
  • Use a traditional spelling. "If you want to be unique, don't choose a top 10 name. Find something lower on the list."
  • Choose a name that will grow with the child. "Pixie is cute for a child, but not a CEO."

– Sarah B. Weir

Elsewhere on Shine:
4 Pieces of Career Advice You Can Officially Ignore
7 Unique Baby Naming Trends for 2013
Vomit, Orgasm, Roach: The Most Ridiculous Beauty Product Names

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