"We like to tell people that if you save this much every year, it's going work out. But what we know about real life is that things happen, especially those years where you're beginning a family or you're sending that family on to college," said Maurer.
He tells his clients, "one of the things you can do is to catch up when you get to that point … you can contribute additional money to your IRA and to your 401(k) if you're 50 or older … to make sure that you are on track for your financial goals."
Pell said her clients want to know how they can create a "retirement paycheck?" They want that confidence they had when they were employed.
Her advice is to know how much nonqualified or non-IRA 401(k) money they will need and what does the pot of nonqualified money look like? "If you're going to retire at 55, you need a pot of money that you can draw down off of that you can continue to let your IRA money grow."
(Read more: 4 ways to maximize your Social Security benefit)
Coppa added, "You have to look at your taxable portfolio as well as your qualified money because so many people think about 401(k)s and IRAs—and that's fantastic because they're tax-deferred sheltered ways of creating retirement income—but that may not be enough if you're in your 50s and you're thinking of retiring at 60."
Coppa cautions, "In this world with so many ways of self-funding your retirement, the ways of pension are gone, Social Security is probably not reliable as your only source of income, so 401(k)s may help to get you there," but he suggests you have to look to building taxable portfolios so that you can have multiple sources for your income.
Bottom line: When you are in your 50s or 60s you need to think about qualified 401(k) or IRA-type money, as well as some of your taxable accounts.
(Read more: Post-retirement strategies will help make your money last)
Keep your eyes on your taxes as they can have a real big impact on any retirement paycheck.
And, make sure you always include long-term health care in your retirement plans for you and your spouse.
—By CNBC's Gloria McDonough-Taub.