If you are a millennial you are probably asking 'what pension?' But for those who are Boomers and early Gen Xers, pensions were pretty common during their working years and it was expected that when they retired, the money to pay them a monthly stipend for the rest of their life to augment Social Security would be there to keep them financially comfortable in their later years.
These days many pension plans are coming apart at the seams. Connecticut has one of the biggest pension problems in the country (much of it is unfunded and Boomers are retiring en masse now which is going to be a big problem any minute). Detroit cut pensions. Teamsters are up to their eyeballs in pension problems. And the pension insurance fund is nearly bankrupt. Even European pensions aren't immune from these issues. Some people think the imploding pension problem will fuel the next financial crisis.
Pension problems are hitting all types of governments (city, county, state, federal) and the fix to the problem (if there is one) will rely on current and future workers (not to mention ALL taxpayers). Obviously this is a huge problem. Whether you are relying on a pension for survival or you are a taxpayer who gets to foot the bill, this situation is not going to end well. You've been warned. Plan accordingly.