The employee benefits world, with all its legal rules and regulations, is viewed by human resources people, financial people, and for that matter most lawyers, as forbidding territory - the "darkest forest" from the Wizard of Oz. In desperation, people purchase "answer books" which can answer a specific question, with citations, but without explaining why the answer is what it is, and even worse, without verifying that the right question is being asked. This set of articles pursues an alternative approach for those who are willing to expend the effort. By first demystifying the jargon that is used by "pension experts", as this article tries to do, and then methodically analyzing the basic structural components of the law, as the subsequent articles in this series attempt, author Ira Goldman hopes that even the poet, or other non-expert, can come away with a sound and reliable basic understanding of how the pension world works.
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