The Great TFSA Race: 1st place

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

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

(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