In 1952, Kitty Wells made country music history as the first woman with a number one single, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels.” Her lyrics, “From the start, most every heart that was broken there was a man to blame” may seem innocuous today, but it was risque then, and she was banned, for a while, from The Grand Ole Opry. At the heart of most every scandal too, there is a money manager to blame. No one should be surprised that according to federal authorities, the mastermind of the college admissions scandal, Rick Singer, was a sought-out speaker on the financial-services speaking circuit. A senior partner at a Seattle money-management firm told the Wall Street Journal it seemed odd Singer would mention “other strategies” but never elaborated publicly. The aura of money management includes the mystique of special treatment.

Ironically one of the accused is a prominent Silicon Valley private investor whose particular passion is, get this, ethical investing. Per recorded calls, he paid bribes and may have claimed them as charitable deductions. In addition to lawyering up, the accused are likely amending prior year tax returns post haste.

Daniel Golden’s “The Price of Admission” details how wealthy people buy under-achieving children admission to prestigious schools. Golden noted that Jared Kushner’s dad, Charles, in 1998, gave $2.5 million to Harvard ($4.5 million in 2019 dollars) prior to Jared’s acceptance. Charles was playing the game and followed the rules. Golden found that of Harvard’s top 400 donors, including those too young to have children or childless, over half had a child attend the supposedly elite university.

But back door admissions have gotten prohibitively expensive, and donations come with no guarantees. Nowadays it takes serious money. Hip-Hop legend Dr. Dre along with his business partner donated $70 million to the University of Southern California in 2013 and, no surprise, his daughter was accepted. According to prosecutors, fees for Singer’s side door admission process ran between $250,000 and $400,000. Singer built an illusory better mousetrap, guaranteed admission with lower costs but look who sprung the trap.

When it comes to college, not enrolling in your first choice can have benefits. Roquan Smith played football at the University of Georgia and left after his junior season. No one should blame him; a four-year $6.9 million contract may not set him up for life, but it’s a good start. As a high school senior, Smith wanted to attend UCLA, but when the coach who recruited him bolted for greener pastures, Smith refused to sign his UCLA letter of intent. He could have been a first-round draft pick at UCLA but maybe not. Also, having a college you didn’t get accepted to is an excellent cyber-security question; I speak from experience.

You can’t always get what you want but Buz Livingston, CFP can help you figure out what you need. For specific advice, visit livingstonfinancial.net or drop by 2050 West County Highway 30A, M1 Suite 230.