Financial planners used to believe that 4 percent was the amount you could safely withdraw each year from your 401(k), individual retirement account or other retirement savings all while still maintaining a lifelong retirement income. But now with people living longer and lower yields, Pell says you need to rethink the 4 percent rule.
Instead she says she tells her clients when they're nearing retirement to keep at least two years of cash or cash equivalent on hand and then have the rest of the money invested in equities and fixed income. She says by doing so you'll be better protected if the market goes down. Pells says having a couple of years of cash on hand buys you time and allows the market to work itself out.
Maurer says a great way to prepare for your retirement and to make your money last is to do a dress rehearsal.
He says the best transitions are done a couple of years before you actually retire. He suggests that you try to live on a reduced budget and try doing those activities you're planning to do in your golden years.
"Instead of having retirement be a two-act play, where it's Act 1, you're working your butt off as hard as you can, and Act 2 is kicking your feet up at the beach," Maurer said to think of retiring as a three-act play: Act 1: The Working Years, Act 2: The Transition (he says this can last years) and Act 3: The Retired Years.
(Read more: Financial checkup Q&A: Your 401(k) and how to catch up)
All three experts agree no one should ever just plan to "wing it" during their retirement years. To relieve your anxieties and to make sure you're better prepared for a longer life spent retired, each says the best chance you have is to start planning now for the life you want to live.
—By CNBC's Gloria McDonough-Taub.