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updated 5/3/2005 5:40:06 PM ET 2005-05-03T21:40:06

OK, kids, put away the goo-goo eyes and get serious about your financial future.

The reason is simple: Do you want to stay together or not?

"Many young couples aren't comfortable talking about financial issues," says M. Sophie Beckmann, a certified public accountant and certified financial planner at A.G. Edwards & Sons in St. Louis, Mo. "It can often be a source of conflict, and to avoid difficulties, many simply don't discuss finances."

But that avoidance is a mistake, because money troubles can sink a new marriage faster than that iceberg sank the Titanic.

First, develop a budget outlining income and routine expenses such as rent, food, utilities and car upkeep.

Without a budget, many young couples simply spend money as quickly as they earn it and are unprepared for the first bout of unemployment. You don't want to be between jobs without a rainy day fund.

It might be wise for young couples to set aside time each week to discuss money. This may mean doing without the latest episode of (gasp) "Wife Swap," but there's no reason the discussion can't be held over dinner or during an afternoon walk. Make it informative, but keep it simple and direct.

It's odd that some couples don't have any trouble going to a marriage counselor to discuss intimate details of their lives but find it just about impossible to discuss money. It may be because a discussion about money forces young couples to define the basics and sort things out in a hurry. This means describing your needs and desires — in short, yourself.

For example, what do you call a major purchase? Is it $100 or $1,000? At what point do both partners have to agree to make such a purchase? Or, what's a necessity? Some people might argue that life isn't worth living without a top-of-the-line home theater system — but their partners might disagree. It doesn't take much imagination to see the more than somewhat-heated squabble that could arise if a $20,000 bill from the electronics store suddenly appeared on the credit card.

Many brokerage firms have Web sites offering financial planning tips, including A.G. Edwards & Sons, T. Rowe Price, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. Several major banks also offer solid information, including Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup.

The solution to many financial problems that young married couples face is simple and often overlooked: Talk it out.

"Young couples need to have a financial plan in place," Beckmann says. "The consequences of not having a plan can be devastating." Clearly, the plan includes spending, but more importantly, it should include saving and preparing for children and, believe it or not, retirement.

Still, many young couples would rather discuss asparagus than talk about money.

If that's the case, see you in divorce court, kids.

© 2012 Forbes.com

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