According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2000, the number of adults age 65 and older was 35 million, or 12% of the total population. In 2020, the number of seniors had risen to 56.1 million or 17% of the population. By 2030, the bureau estimates, more than 21% of U.S. residents, about 73.1 million, will have passed their 65th birthdays.

What does all this mean?

It means it’s time to prepare — the sooner, the better.

Americans are living longer than ever. But what that life will entail, post-65, can wildly vary depending on lifestyle preferences, health status, finances, and more. Achieving your goals — and your desires for your loved ones — requires careful thought, and that’s where our annual Senior Planning Guide comes in, offering advice on everything from choosing a care facility to living safely at home; from estate planning to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The questions are myriad, and no single guide can answer all the questions. But hopefully, this special section will sort through some of the confusion and get those conversations started.