Resident’s past life helps couples learn money management

By Bob Merikangas
Resident Writer

Olivia Mellan Shapiro is one of our new residents.  She moved here with her husband in September 2017 and is now starting her retirement years and transitioning into a new life.

As we can always do with fellow residents, we can learn about her past life and her hopes for the future in conversations at dinner and at other times. With Olivia, we can also look for information on the Internet using her professional name: Olivia Mellan. Her own website,, has information on her life before she retired this year:

“Since 1982, Olivia Mellan has been a groundbreaker in the field of money psychology, couples communication, stress management, and conflict resolution. Her monthly column, The Psychology of Advice, appears in Investment Advisor, and she has appeared on Oprah, the Today Show, ABC’s 20/20, and other nationwide media. She also speaks all over the country to businesses, professional groups, and to the general public.”

There is also much information about her on Wikipedia, including a list of her books. The best way to sum up her career is to note that she was doing money therapy and couples therapy. This is reflected in the title of her book and her website: moneyharmony.

Her expertise was noted in a recent article in Kiplinger magazine: “‘Opposites attract, and that’s especially true when it comes to dealing with money. Even if both partners start off their relationship with similar ways of handling money, over time they will become opposites,’ says Olivia Mellan, author of Money Harmony. For instance, if two spenders marry, eventually one will become a saver relative to the other, she says. ‘Otherwise, they end up bankrupt in four minutes.’ Mellan, a therapist for 42 years, has identified six [actually ten] categories of money opposites.”

Her most recent book, published in 2014, with co-author Sherry Christie, is Money Harmony: A Road Map for Individuals and Couples. Olivia, “Livvie,” has donated copies of her books to the campus libraries, so they should be available to check out. It is also possible to buy her books online by searching for Olivia Mellan.

After years of a professional life as counselor, psychotherapist, speaker, and author of many books, Olivia is now free to engage in some of her favorite activities. She enjoys singing, and in addition to joining in the group sing-along, she participates in a local Threshold Choir, who “bring songs of comfort to the dying” in hospice care. As she says, she is a Broadway musical fanatic, and also likes to make jewelry and donate it. She will be attending many group meetings.

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