I knew that eventually I’d start getting this question. As our wedding quickly approaches, this question is coming up more frequently from friends, acquaintances, and strangers. Earlier this week, it came up at a doctor’s appointment:
Nurse: I heard you’re getting married soon!
Me: Yes, we’re so excited! I can’t believe we’re only a month away!
Nurse: What is your new last name? I can make a note to change it in the system.
Me: No, that’s okay. I’m actually keeping my last name.
Nurse: Not even a hyphen?
Nurse: Oh, okay. Well if you change your mind, we can change it later.
I smiled and said thank you, even though I know that I’m not going to change my mind.
While in college I decided that if I ever got married, I would keep my last name... not hyphen it or use my maiden name as my middle name. Literally keep my last name. Now, ten years later, I’m getting married to the man of my dreams, love of my life, soulmate, and best friend.
Guess what? I’m still not changing my name.
People have told me for years that I would change my mind once I meet the right person. Well, lucky for me, I did meet the right person. He supports my decision and knows that my different last name will have no impact on us as a couple. We had this conversation before we got engaged. It was a genuine and emotional conversation that made me love him even more. We are in agreeance that love, understanding, respect, and commitment make a family and support a marriage… not a last name.
Before anyone comes at me, I want you to know that I support and respect everyone’s personal choices. I will cheer for you if you change your last name, keep your last name, or create a new last name. If you're happy, I'm happy for you! What you and your significant other decide is no one’s business but your own and that is a beautiful thing.
Despite that, a lot of people ask me why I’m not changing my name. As someone who also asks a lot of questions (duh, I’m a journalist), I honestly don’t mind answering it. Below are my personal reasons, which, by the way... have nothing to do with feelings, families, politics, history... or anything else you might assume.
I don't want to change it
That should be enough of an answer. But just in case, I’ll elaborate. I don’t want a different last name because I really like my current name. I was never that kid in elementary school who wanted a different first name. I remember girls saying they were changing their first names for the day to "Jennifer" or "Ashley" because they liked those names more than their actual names. Not me. I’ve always loved my entire name. As a woman who made this decision years before even meeting a husband, it didn’t matter what my future husband’s last name might be… it wouldn’t be mine.
My name is my brand
From a professional and career standpoint, my name is everything in broadcasting. There are plenty of reporters and anchors who choose to legally change their names once they get married. They may or may not change their on-air name. Some do, some don’t... and whatever they choose is their business and their decision. For me personally, I’m continuing my career in my current city and I want my brand to be seamless. I’ve worked very hard for my name to be recognizable in the community. This effort will continue with the same name as I am always looking to grow my brand and outreach.
It will give my family privacy
I am a regular person, but my job puts me in the public eye. Unfortunately, that can make me a target for stalkers or people who don’t have/understand boundaries. I’ve had a few instances in the past with strange letters, phone calls, and messages. I take these cases seriously and want to protect myself and my family. Having a different last name is not a guaranteed way, but it can help. Our future children will have my husband’s last name and I hope that will give them a slightly stronger sense of privacy than if we all shared the same last name.
So... yeah. Those are my personal reasons why.
I mean, there are also a few bonuses that come with it like not having to change my emails, website, social media, credit cards, bank accounts, passport or identification. Those are definitely not part of my reasons “why” but they are a nice advantage. ;)
If you take anything away from this post, I ask that you be thoughtful in how you ask someone about their future last name. It’s totally normal to be curious and to mention it in conversation. Consider asking them if they’re changing their last name instead of asking their new last name. Instead of showing assumption, you will show understanding.
Okay, that’s enough of that.
Now back to the regularly scheduled weekend full of wedding planning!
I have mixed emotions when I think of my overall experience as an entry-level reporter. I got my first job in television news seven years ago in Virginia. It was a roller coaster and can best be described in a pie chart because I like organization… and I also like pie.
Here’s the breakdown:
15% Accomplishment for landing a job out of college
10% Bitterness for getting laid off after 18 months
25% Gratitude for the blessing in disguise of being laid off
20% Fortunate for getting the experience I needed to advance in my career
30% Wonder for how in the world I survived off a tiny small market salary
The thought of that $21,500/year salary still makes me sick… especially paired with, at the time, $65,000 in student loan debt. You know what? I survived. Here’s how:
I only bought items on sale/special:
I found the cheapest, quality grocery store and was a loyal customer. I looked at the sales flyer, made a shopping list, and stuck with it. I had a weekly grocery budget and never exceeded it. I also relied on the grocery chain’s fuel points to save money on gas. Same rules applied to shopping for clothing, accessories, and household necessities.
I used a debit card or cash:
You can’t spend money you don’t have, right? Exactly.
So, I avoided using credit cards. There was always the occasional exception but for the most part, I stuck with my debit card or cash.
I did things myself:
I'm a girly girl. I like wearing nail polish, putting on makeup (sometimes), and styling my hair. While I would never consider cutting my own hair, I did save money by getting it cut dry. I also painted my own nails and waxed my own eyebrows. When it comes to makeup, I committed by buying off-brand or drugstore items, which saved a lot of money. There are plenty of high quality and cruelty-free products available. I still use many of the same products because I will never in my life justify spending over $30 on a foundation.
I worked a second job:
When my student loan repayment kicked in, I desperately needed additional income. I browsed Care.com to look for babysitting jobs. I ended up getting hired to nanny for a family twice a week. The extra money every week made a huge difference. This family was so wonderful and friendly. I was really fortunate to work for them. It was an added bonus that I loved their dogs, so they also hired me as a pet sitter.
I worked a third job:
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. And by going… I mean going to work at a winery. It’s no secret that I love wine… so when a local winery was hiring weekend bartenders, I was intrigued. It paid well by the hour and also gave me the opportunity earn tips. Honestly, some days I made more money in three hours at the winery than I did in eight hours at my full-time job.
I said no:
If I couldn’t afford to go out with my friends, I was okay with saying no. I didn’t have to tell them I couldn’t afford it, I just told them I was busy, had other plans, or was relaxing. Having other part-time jobs definitely helped with this. If I was working that meant I was making money instead of spending money somewhere else.
I refinanced my student loans:
I shopped around for the best refinancing deal and lowest interest rate.
CommonBond gave me a much lower interest rate and better pay-off plan. This month (August 2019), the lender and finance company is offering a referral deal. If you use my affiliate link* to refinance your loans, you’ll get a bonus $200 sent to your PayPal account. That’s a pretty good deal.
Of course, every individual situation is different. These are goals I set for myself and they worked. Seven years later, these goals continue to work for me. No matter your paycheck or how much debt is involved, there are always ways to cut spending, save money, or even make more money. How do you commit to sticking to your budget? Let me know!
* This post contains an affiliate link with Commonbond. This means if you click the link and choose to refinance your loans with Commonbond, this blog will receive commission at no cost to you. In fact, you will get a bonus $200 for refinancing your loans through that affiliate link. Funds earned will be used for operational costs such as website, domain, marketing, and outreach.
I have a pet peeve.
(Okay, okay… I have a lot of pet peeves… but this is a BIG one.)
You can’t have a first annual anything.
This pet peeve is something I see at least once a week in a press release, on a Facebook event, or on a website. It’s not technically incorrect, but it’s not preferred.
If something is in its first year, it can’t logically be referred to as the first annual.
The word annual implies the event is yearly.
If the event is in its first year, it can’t be yearly because it hasn’t happened prior to this year. For something to be annual, it needs to happen more than once.
Alternatives to first annual:
Example: Maria Satira’s Inaugural Writing Seminar
Example: Maria Satira’s First Writing Seminar
When to use annual:
Once the second year rolls around, then you can start to use annual in the title.
Example: Maria Satira’s Second Annual Writing Seminar
PS. If you were wondering... there isn't an actual Maria Satira writing seminar event.
... at least not yet ;)
Maria Satira is a full-time communications director, small business owner, blogger, freelance writer, and content creator. She loves sarcasm, rescue dogs, and red wine. She despises bland food, poor grammar, and litterbugs.