Nearly three quarters of Americans find thinking about retirement saving and investing to be a source of stress and anxiety, according to a Franklin Templeton survey.

“Those who have never worked with a financial advisor are more than three times as likely to indicate a significant degree of stress and anxiety about their retirement savings as those who currently work with an advisor,” says Michael Doshier, vice president of retirement marketing for Franklin Templeton Investments.

The survey, enitled "Retirement Income Strategies and Expectations," found that the majority of respondents expect their retirement expenses to be the same or less than what they currently are. The expenses that caused the most concern included health care, general living expenses and lifestyle. 

When it came to sources of retirement income, nearly half of respondents did not know with a high degree of confidence how much of their current income will be replaced by Social Security or an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

Working with an advisor to develop a written retirement income strategy appears to help, with over half of respondents who use advisors indicating they are confident about how much of their income will be replaced by Social Security or an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

Two retirement misconceptions that could seriously impact a retirees’ income, according to the survey: the mistaken notion that retirees can decide exactly when they retire, and the failure to realize that most retirees are forced to take Social Security benefits early.

When asked what adjustment they would make if they were unable to retire as planned due to insufficient income, working longer and increasing sources of income, such as working part-time, topped the list.

However, one-third of today’s retirees surveyed indicated they were forced into retirement due to circumstances beyond their control, such as health issues or company downsizing. So working longer may not be a realistic option for many people.

Secondly, almost three quarters of respondents anticipate taking Social Security benefits at their “full” retirement age.

However, 63 percent of today’s retirees were forced to take Social Security benefits early, sacrificing their benefit amount by as much as 25 percent, according to the Franklin.

“Taking just a little time to write down a plan, with an advisor, can not only help you understand your true options better; it might also reduce your feelings of stress,” says Doshier.

The survey was conducted online among 2,002 adults comprising 1,001 men and 1,001 women 18 years of age or older.