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Short first names mean bigger paychecks, study says

May 08, 2013|By Shan Li
  • Dr. Doug Ross, played by George Clooney in the TV show "ER," is likely a high earner based on his short first name, according to a recent study.
Dr. Doug Ross, played by George Clooney in the TV show "ER," is… (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)

What's in a name? Apparently the key to people's earning potential, according to a recent study.

The shorter your first name, the more you will earn on average, online career site TheLadders found in a study. In fact, every additional letter to a name correlates to a $3,600 drop in annual salary.

Those who go by a shorter nickname also outearn counterparts who go by the corresponding full name, the study found. Bills usually score a bigger paycheck than Williams, for example, and Debbies earn more than Deborahs.

Quiz: How much do you know about California's economy?

Even those who have the same name but spell it differently will see a wage difference. Michele with one "l" will earn more than Michelle with two 'ls." Philip will speed past Phillip on the wage scale. And the same with Sara vs. Sarah.

Of course, not all the trends fit the mold of shorter the better.

The top five highest-paid male names are: Tom, Rob, Dale, Doug and Wayne -- all five letters or fewer. But women break the pattern a bit -- the highest-paid female names are Lynn, Melissa, Cathy, Dana and Christine (Christine is also on the list of top female C-Level executive list).

But here's some food for thought for soon-to-be parents: The top 25 most popular names will earn $7,000 more, on average, than everyone else.

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Follow Shan Li on Twitter @ShanLi

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