FA Playbook

What to ask your financial advisor when you're in your 40s

In your 40s? Ask your financial advisor this

Most investors in their 40s and 50s say they want to build wealth and protect their investments as they near their retirement years, but many say they don't know where to turn.

CNBC's Sharon Epperson recently sat down with our panel of top financial advisors; Rich Coppa, managing director at Wealth Health, Geri Pell, president of Pell Wealth Partners, and Tim Maurer, director of financial planning at The Financial Consulate, to get their advice on what you should ask your financial advisor when you're in that age group.

(Read more: Dreams delayed, even denied: Young people put off parenthood)

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"I think in your 40s and 50s you really need to hone in on a game plan and have a solid financial plan that you can build with your advisor and work through those 40s and 50s," Coppa said.

Your game plan should also include a "vision" of what you think your retirement will actually look like.

Coppa said you don't have to agonize about having all the details or having every detail set in stone, but he said you should start thinking about what your "golden years" will look like. Do you want to travel, open a new business, do charity work, even replicate your current income?

If you can begin to articulate how you'd like to spend your retirement years, Coppa said you can start planning for it and set clearer goals with your financial advisor.

(Read more: What to ask your financial advisor when you're 50 and beyond)

Maurer added being able to define what you actually want in your future will also help you and your financial planner put together a framework to know what it's going to take to get there.

He cautioned there will be sacrifices but said everything's about balance. "It's similar to dieting ... because you don't want to be so restrictive that you're not going to obtain your goal."

All three agree it's best to start planning for your retirement even before your 40s especially since more and more people living well into their 80s. For many, their No. 1 question is will they outlive their money?

(Read more: Age-based Investing)

"With people living longer and longer it becomes more and more important of a question. If you don't know that answer to that question, then you probably need to get some professional advice, particularly in your 40s and 50s. It is all about the balance and you want to know the answer now of 'how much can I play with, and how much do I need to save, and how much certainty will I have if I do that,' " Pell said.

She also said getting advice will help you to figure out the everyday financial decisions like should you build an addition, put more money in a college fund or go on vacation?

Pell said working with an advisor and having a game plan to help you achieve your retirement "vision," will help you make those decisions without guilt.

—By CNBC's Gloria McDonough-Taub.