Anyone interested in investing in Estonia today surely knows Kristjan Liivamägi!! We asked him what sparked his interest in investing and what is the most exciting aspect of working at the university.
You hold a master’s degree in public economics (with a minor in banking and finance) and a PhD in financial economics. Why did you decide to specialize in these fields?
In my first years at the university, I realized that financial markets and economics are the fields that attract and fascinate me. I wanted to learn more about this field since the economy and financial markets keep changing. That's why I pursued a TalTech master's degree in public economics and joined the international auditing firm Ernst&Young.
Today, being a senior lecturer at the TalTech Department of Economics and Finance, what motivates you in teaching?
Knowing that I can help young people with more successful and money-wise financial decisions makes my eyes shine. Each academic year, I experience the students’ hunger for financial knowledge. And not only the students but also their family members and friends, to whom they pass on their knowledge - at home or in their private lives. This hunger comes from our historical background, on the one hand, but also from the fact that we encounter money-related issues daily. Unfortunately, in our kindergartens, at schools, and universities, we are not taught enough about money handling. But that is changing - and I can be a part of that change. This is awesome.
What exciting challenges does your today's job offer?
There are many challenges in the changing world and financial markets, but the stories that former students tell matter most. It is great when a former student comes to me in the store and says: "Thank you, Kristjan! You told me about pension funds and the organization of personal finances four years ago in the personal finance course. Since then, I've taken more interest in my financial situation, switched pension funds, and started saving and investing." I'm OK with that. The fact that people do change their behaviour and apply the acquired knowledge in practice. This is what motivates me.
You have been awarded several titles in recent years - AS Äripäev "Investor of the Year 2022" and now recently "Best teacher of money wisdom 2023" as part of the "Financial Wisdom Locomotive" competition organized by Estonian Financial Supervision and Resolution Authority, the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Estonia, and the Estonian Banking Association. Do the titles also help grow money?
Titles and accolades don't make money. Money is still raised by people who manage their property. But I am glad that my actions have been noticed and recognized. I believe that promoting money wisdom is very important and necessary in society.
In cooperation with Tõnn Talpsepp and Tarvo Vaarmets, alumni of the School of Business and Governance, you have already published two books: "Principles of Financial Success" and "Principles of Investment Success"- are there more coming soon?
The book "Principles of Financial Success" is designed for people interested in successfully managing their finances. "Principles of Investment Success" is for the beginner investor, and the last part of the trilogy: "The Master Class of Investment Success," is meant for the active investor who aims to achieve even greater success in investing.
Investing and AI. What parts of the jobs, if any, could AI take over in the future?
In fact, in wealth management and banking, several jobs can be taken over by AI and have already been computerized to a great extent. I believe a lot of data processing and analysis will be performed by AI in the future.
If your children had to choose a major at university today, what would you recommend them?
I would advise them to choose a major in which they feel a genuine passion and interest. It doesn't matter what you study. If you do it with dedication and great interest, you can achieve success in any field.