I am a recent convert to Dividend Investing. So for years I pumped money into mutual funds. And I had 401K equivalent doing the same thing.
So I was able to accumulate money by sheer force (constant contributions). But.... as a example of the mutual fund story over the last decade, at one point we put about $3,000 in a Roth IRA. We are transferring the money now to our brokerage Roth account.... and it was worth about $3,200 bucks.
People that follow the stock market have referred to the last 10 years as "the lost decade". Things go up, things go down, and they end up the same.
Which is why I am now officially in the Dividend Growth Club. There are very interesting discussions going on over at Seeking Alpha Specifically this area http://seekingalpha.com/dashboard/investing_income
One of the items of discussion is about whether to reinvest dividends automatically, or let them accumulate for the right moment.
I'd probably let them reinvest in your situation.
The Dividend Growth people are licking their chops over this market