1st place: Rick & Maureen, $1M+

Rick and Maureen have more than $500,000 in their TFSAs, each!

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From the January 2015 issue of the magazine.

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(Photograph by Darren Hull)

(Photograph by Darren Hull)

Rick Doucette // 47 // and Maureen O’Hanley Doucette // 46 // Kelowna, B.C.

Rick’s TFSA: $516,297

Maureen’s TFSA: $509,784

Investment strategy: All-in on one penny stock

When the government introduced TFSAs in 2009, Rick Doucette and his wife Maureen decided to try for big gains in that account. Their opportunity came in 2010 after the couple talked with a close friend who had been given the task of managing a company on the verge of bankruptcy. “The company was at death’s door, but we felt it would survive,” says Rick, a financial adviser in Kelowna, B.C. “So we decided to buy in.”

Kelso Technologies Inc. (TSX: KLS) was a tiny company that desperately needed cash, but it had great leadership. Rick and Maureen spent time researching the products Kelso developed, including new technology and safer products for rail tank cars. “The rail industry hadn’t changed much in over 70 years,” says Maureen, who runs her own communications company while raising the couple’s three young kids. “The industry was due for a regulatory overhaul.”

The couple decided to buy 100,000 shares at 10 cents each. They also bought 50,000 warrants that gave them the right to buy additional shares at 17 cents. (Warrants are similar to stock options: they give an investor the right to buy shares at a predetermined price for a set period of time.) These warrants proved key to helping the Doucettes build their wealth, both inside the TFSA and out. “When the shares were worth 18 cents we transferred $5,000 worth into our TFSAs and paid the tax on the capital gains,” says Maureen, whose TFSA today holds only Kelso stock. As the stock continued to climb, Rick and Maureen transferred as many shares as they could into their TFSAs.

The 2013 rail disaster in Lac-Mégantic reinforced the need for Kelso’s products, and 2014 brought a further boost to the stock price when it was listed on the NYSE MKT (a U.S. exchange for small-cap stocks).

By October 31, 2014, Kelso shares were trading at just under $6.53 per share. Rick has 79,100 shares in his TFSA while Maureen has 78,100, so their account balances were $516,297 and $509,784, respectively. The couple firmly believes the company will eventually be bought out and they’re determined to hold on to all of their shares until then. “We believe Kelso has the potential to climb to $25 a share,” says Rick. “We’re patient and will wait.”

In three years, the couple plans to diversify their TFSAs and switch to income-producing stocks and mutual funds, while keeping an eye out for other high-growth opportunities. In the longer term, they have big dreams for their TFSA money. “We ultimately plan to transfer a portion of the money we get from the sale of our Kelso shares to a charitable foundation that we’ll manage ourselves,” says Maureen. “That’s what we’re really looking forward to now.”


The Great TFSA Race 2015

1st place

Rick & Maureen’s TFSAs: $1M+

2nd place

Shafik’s TFSA: $262,000

3rd place

Philippe’s TFSA: $100,021

4th place

Nita’s TFSA: $88,062

5th place

Milan’s TFSA: $86,300

6th place

Jin’s TFSA: $70,474

10 comments on “1st place: Rick & Maureen, $1M+

  1. WOW. IT is wonderful. Must be nice to work in so much harmony as couples. When you strt to help people to invest. I would like to be a tiny part of it. I am a senior with limited income (non of my fault) I due admit that I was a fool in my marriage after 25 yeas of marriage he was able to clean out all our accounts even though I was building new homes in the 80,s . I was interested in building at the time money was not my main object. Unfortunaely it is now I am past 76 and live on a limited income for seniors (with some savings in my TFSA WHICH I MAE REMODELLING A SMALL HOME AFTER I TURNED 65 IN A SMALL COMMUNITY . THE HOME WAS SOLD AND I HAVE SOME TFSA OUT OF IT I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A SMALL HOME TO LIVE IN TILL I PASS ON( I am healthy) but I am not GOOD WITH INVESTMENTS ONLY HARD PHYSICAL WORK. I am blessed to be healthy. SO IF YOU THINK YOU COULD OR WANT TO GIVE ADVICE I WOULD WERY MUCH APRICIATE IT. NOW I LIVE IN CAWSTON IN A TINY COMMUNITY AND I AM PAYING MORE THAN 1/2 OF MY MONTHLY PAY FOR RENT . WELL SOME TIME THINGS WORK SOME TIMS NOT. NOT MANY CARE ABOUT MY AGE OF PERSON WHO HAS STILL SOME DRIVE BUT AN HONEST ONE. I DUE NOT KNOW IF YOU WILL READ THIS. BUT WORK TOGETHER AND STAY TOGETHER WITH LOVE AND CARE FOR EACH OTHER AND YOUR CHILDREN I HOPE LEARN TO BE LIKE YOU TWO. SINCERELY; LORETA ASHLIE.


    • Thanks for those comments Loreta. We took a huge risk with our TFSA investment and were very fortunate that it paid off. That being said, I would not recommend taking this kind of risk unless you are fully prepared to lose your entire investment.
      If you are living on a low income, be sure to apply for all of the benefits and subsidies you are entitled to. Be sure to apply to the GIS (guaranteed income supplement). In B.C. You may also qualify for MSP reductions, and if your rent is half of your income, look into getting rental assistance through a program called SAFER (Shelter Aid For Elderly Renters). That would be my recommendation to you, Loreta. I hope that helps.


      • Do you realize that several people have done this, and have been hit with a tax bill from Revenue Canada. TFSA is not a place to make money, if you use it for such, Revenue Canada deems it a business venture, and will tax you on the proceeds.

        If I were making more than an average return in my TFSA, I would not be advertising it… Good Luck…


  2. I’m a bit unclear as to how this works: am I to understand that all of that money can now be withdrawn tax free?


    • Jim: Yes. Any money withdrawn from a TFSA is withdrawn tax free.


  3. You forgot to mention that she is now employed with Kelso since 2011. Also would really like to know if she and Rick still have their shares as this stock is down considerably.


  4. Ouch


  5. Hello, 2016 here with KLS trading at 20% of its 2014 highs. I guess those TFSA’s are back down to $100k. Buy and hold is buy and die.


  6. If we are to combine TFSA’s with multiple names under one family, this is not the winner by far. Let’s keep the competition fair. We either group people’s TFSA under a household or we keep them individually. I am the biggest TFSA holder and no one comes close….


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