Road to pension nightmare started in 1950s

Illinois’ modern pension systems were created with a simple goal: to help public employees secure their financial futures in the wake of two world wars and the Great Depression.

But a half-century of mismanagement has turned the state’s pension systems into a financial morass saddled with a $78 billion debt. Read more.

Part 2: Varied payouts stir pension jealousy

All pension funds are not created equal, but the most active unions help bring home the best deal for retirees.

Two sides of Illinois’ pension systems need to be fixed in order to help bring the state out of its retirement funding quagmire: the benefits, which some say are overly generous, and the funding, which is $78 billion in the red.