Not everybody has a clear idea of how to handle their retirement money. According to an assessment of retirement readiness from Voya Financial, nearly 50 percent of workers have saved less than $49,000 and 60 percent say they're worried about running out of money.
How much do you need to save? That's the question on many people's minds. There are plenty of online calculators to crunch the numbers, but Schlesinger said it's crucial to figure out what you're spending right now.
"I think a lot of people freak out about that because it's hard to project what you'll need in the future without starting with today," Schlesinger said Wednesday on "CBS This Morning."
It's also important to know what sources of income will be at your disposal in the future, such as Social Security or a pension.
"If there's a gap between what you need and what's coming in, you'll have to get that from your portfolio or your savings," she said.
Schlesinger pointed out another critical issue: "For every million dollars you save, it's only going to generate about $30,000 to $35,000 a year."
Having millions to save may seem like a long shot, but Schlesinger said, "There are a lot of people who are doing it, and they do it early. They start early. That is the key."
Schlesinger said one of the biggest mistakes people make in retirement is prematurely claiming Social Security benefits.
"If you've got enough credits to claim retirement benefits, you can claim as early as age 62," Schlesinger said. "If you do so, you permanently reduce your benefit, and if you've got a non-working spouse, that non-working spouse's benefit also permanently reduces."
She advised people to wait at least until the full retirement age of between 65-67, depending on when they were born.
"And if you wait until age 70, you will max out your retirement benefits," Schlesinger said.
But she pointed out a caveat: You have to live long enough to "make this equation work."
"So if you tell me when you're going to die, I will tell you when to file your long-term benefits," Schlesinger said.
Another important issue for people thinking about retirement is long-term care, but Schlesinger pointed out a common discrepancy.
"A lot of people mistakenly believe Medicare will cover long-term care," she said.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 70 percent of people over the age of 65 will need some kind of long-term care.
Schlesinger said Medicaid covers long-term care, but you have to deplete your assets first.
"So people who have somewhere between $300,000 and $2 million, especially couples, should look into at least pricing some minimum coverage on long-term care," she said. "It can eat into your retirement nest egg and could leave a healthy spouse depleted."
For 401(k)s, Schlesinger encouraged employees to contribute at least as much as their company will match.
"You can put a lot of money away into a 401(k), and I know this is hard for folks, we want you to do it slowly and surely," she said.
According to the IRS, employees under the age of 50 can contribute up to $18,000 per year. Employees over the age of 50 can contribute up to an additional $6,000 for a total of $24,000.
Contributing to a 401(k) will also deduct from your taxable income.
Read Schlesinger's answers to your #BeReady questions here.