Here's an important point that many people often forget: Your retirement target figure isn't actually a specific amount of money. That goal number you think you're aiming for is just one in a complex equation. And on the other side of that equation are your total retirement expenses, which depend heavily on your health, longevity and the lifestyle you choose. If you spend less as a retiree (obviously), you need less.
Given that, it's worth considering an option that would reduce your expenses in retirement without changing your retirement lifestyle: Long-term care insurance.
According to the most recent available statistics from the Department of Health and Human Services, an American who lives to age 65 today will, on average, live to 84. And an estimated 70 percent of baby boomers are expected to use some form of long-term care during their lives, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation—likely for several years, and at prices that can drain even the most well-feathered nest egg. And there are large portions of those bills that Medicare won't cover.
Hence, the recommendation that you price out long-term care coverage. It isn't the right choice for everyone, but if you have enough assets to protect, and can afford the premiums, it can mean the difference between outliving your money and having your money outlive you.
Three caveats: First, until recently, long-term care insurance was a better deal than it is now. So good, in fact, that insurers started losing money on the policies as care costs soared and it became clear that they'd underpriced them. For the most part, in the past couple of years, those insurers that didn't get out of the business have adjusted premiums upward to compensate.
Second, while Medicare does not cover long-term care, Medicaid does in many instances. But to qualify for the Medicaid program, you have to deplete your nest egg down to nearly zero, which is not the goal here.
Third, like any other form of insurance, this one is a gamble: You're betting that you'll live long enough to need the expensive care that it covers. The actuaries are hoping that you and most of your fellow customers will live in good health right up until your last days. If they have it their way, you'll pay premiums for years, and get little value for the money.
But here's why these policies make the "recommended" list regardless. The goal of this whole exercise is to make sure that you don't outlast your stash. The longer you live, the more likely you are to get your money's worth out of a long-term care policy, which will preserve your other assets. On the other hand—morbid as it may be to contemplate—if you don't live quite that long, you're also less likely to outlive your nest egg.
Read MoreThe pros and cons of long-term care coverage
In a similar vein, John Jamieson, owner of financial advisory firm Perpetual Wealth Systems and author of "The Perpetual Wealth System," espouses another technique to avoid running out of cash before you run out of time: fixed indexed deferred annuities.
"A successful retirement is about guaranteed income that you can't outlive," said Jamieson.
His advice: "Roll over a portion of your IRA into a solid deferred fixed indexed annuity and fund this annuity with as much as possible in upcoming years."
There are a few benefits, he says. First, this protects your capital from any market downturns; second, with a lifetime income rider, you have an investment that guarantees lifelong income for you and your spouse; third, it gives your retirement nest egg the chance to have strong growth with no market losses along the way.
Earnings on a deferred annuity account are also taxed only upon withdrawal, so there's a tax benefit. And they typically include a death benefit, so that the beneficiary of the annuity is guaranteed the principal and the investment earnings.
Read MoreLongevity annuities can provide income later in life
The caveat here is, of course, that guaranteed safety like that comes at the expense of higher growth rates. A fixed indexed annuity can have caps on its returns, so the index it's linked to may have a banner year, and your investment will only return you part of those gains.
Hickey of Merrill Lynch also recommends annuities as a complement to other investments, but he prefers a standard variable annuity—especially if you find yourself in possession of a large sum to invest all at once. Even so, it's a recommendation he couples with a warning: "With an annuity, you've got to be careful what you're buying ... it's a way for you to put a lump sum in for tax-deferred growth, but examining the fees, the expenses, caps and holding periods is crucial."