Thomas Washington actually looked at his Social Security statement - and was pleasantly surprised.
For a government document, the four-page Social Security statement is an upfront read, far easier than the monthly 12-page phone bill and definitely more clear-cut than the quarterly 401K statement.
I think of my benefits chart as a sort of monetary photo album. I can go to any year between 1975 and 2007 and pinpoint exactly what I was doing that year, strictly by the numbers. Besides a death certificate from the vital records office, no other document puts one's life in such stark terms.