In 2013 my Roth IRA had investment return of 28.0%. The S&P500 returned 32.39% with dividends reinvested. So I saw great growth but not as good as simply betting on 'average'. And from that perspective I did poorly. Its easy to feel happy about getting 28% but I could have gotten 4.39% more by simply buying a generic index fund.
Apparently I didn't figure my return for 2012 so I'm not sure how I did that year. I don't have good records for that period but I've got one data point captured in Dec. 2011 and then I know how much I had in Dec 2012 so I can at least estimate based on that period. At least from Dec to Dec I was up about 10%. The S&P500 was up 16% for the year total. Thats not perfect but close enough. So it looks like I underperformed the S&P that year by 6%.
In 2011 I beat the S&P by1-2% so that wasn't bad.
Back in 2010 I doubled the performance of the S&P500 by getting 30.1% versus 15.06%
So for 4 years I'm at +15%, +1%, -6% and -4%. That puts be about 10% above the S&P500 in total for the 4 years. Not bad I guess. But the latest trend in the past 2 years isn't good and I'm really just riding the success of 2010.
I've gotten away from my old dividend stock investing strategy due to lack of time and attention and I've now mostly switched over to investing in general index ETFs. However I do have a preference for dividend focused ETFs. Over 85% of my Roth account is now split between DVY, VTI and VYM. DVY and VYM are dividend focused and VTI is just the total stock market.