The week's best financial advice

Three top pieces of financial advice — from how to pay for things while overseas to affordable dental care for retirees

College savings
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Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial advice from around the web:

Check your teeth before retirement

A trip to the dentist should be on your to-do list before retiring, "before your dental insurance disappears," said Mark Miller at Reuters. Retirees "are often surprised to learn" that routine dental care isn't covered under Medicare. Only 40 percent of people 65 and older have dental benefits of any kind, meaning "most seniors just pay for dental care out of pocket." The average annual expense for seniors was $870 in 2012, but more complex procedures can be pricey. "The average cost of a crown in New York City is $2,500; a periodontal procedure in Los Angeles costs $1,700." Private plans can be affordable, at around $15 per month. "But individual coverage is not as robust as group dental plans," and often comes with waiting periods for major procedures and low dollar caps.

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How to pay overseas

Plenty of Americans are traveling abroad this summer, thanks to a strong dollar, said Sandra Block at Kiplinger. But "stealthy fees and bad deals on exchange rates" can drive up the cost of an overseas vacation. Savvy travelers should "use plastic whenever possible." Credit cards have better rates than ATMs and exchange bureaus. And while many credit cards charge foreign-transaction fees, the number of no-fee cards is growing. "Capital One, Discover, HSBC, and Pentagon Federal Credit Union don't apply foreign-transaction fees to any of their cards." For cash, use your debit card at bank ATMs, which offer better rates than foreign exchange bureaus. ATMs owned by your bank or its overseas partners can also help you avoid out-of-network fees. Check your bank's ATM locator before leaving the U.S.

Surprises lurking in your 529

Moving your teen into a dorm room is "not the time to find out that your 529 college savings account has plummeted by 20 or 30 percent," said Ilana Polyak at CNBC. Many families saw their accounts take a sharp dip in 2008 and 2009, "just as they needed to pay for college," because they weren't watching their asset allocation before high school graduations. Take time to "look under the hood" of your plan. Age-based funds taper their exposure to the stock market over time, while static asset-allocation funds never veer from their initial mix of stocks and bonds. If your account takes a hit, resist tapping it if you have money elsewhere. Your 529 can still be used for graduate school, or even for another family member, once it recovers.

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