Willie Sutton Rule

AAA

DEFINITION of 'Willie Sutton Rule'

A somewhat apocryphal axiom that stresses the need for an individual to focus on activities that generate high returns, rather than on actions that might be frivolous or yield lower returns. The rule derives its name from notorious U.S. bank robber Willie Sutton, who when queried by a reporter about why he robbed banks, famously quipped "because that's where the money is." While Sutton denied saying this in his 1976 autobiography, it continues to be erroneously attributed to him. May also be referred to as Sutton's law.

INVESTOPEDIA EXPLAINS 'Willie Sutton Rule'

The Willie Sutton Rule is often taught to medical students as Sutton's Law. It states that when making a diagnosis, it is worthwhile to first focus on the obvious and conduct medical tests that may confirm the most likely diagnosis, rather than trying to diagnose a relatively uncommon medical condition. This approach may yield faster and more accurate results, while avoiding needless costs that would be incurred by conducting unnecessary medical tests.

RELATED TERMS
  1. Volcker Rule

    The Volcker rule separates investment banking, private equity ...
  2. One-Third Rule

    A rule of thumb that estimates the change in labor productivity ...
  3. Rule Of 70

    A way to estimate the number of years it takes for a certain ...
  4. Wash-Sale Rule

    An Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rule that prohibits a taxpayer ...
  5. Short-Sale Rule

    A Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) trading regulation ...
  6. Social Style

    A categorization of the way an individual interacts interpersonally ...
Related Articles
  1. Entrepreneurship

    Business Owners: Rules For Qualified Retirement Plans

    Business owners need to take note of how they handle qualified-plan distributions to former employees.
  2. Bonds & Fixed Income

    Accounting Rules Could Roil The Markets

    FAS 142 is an accounting rule that changes the way companies treat goodwill. Be aware of the impact it has on reported earnings to avoid making bad investment decisions.
  3. Retirement

    Divorcing? The Right Way to Split Retirement Plans

    Mishandling how you define and allocate retirement-plan assets in a divorce can cost you plenty in taxes and aggravation. Here's how to do it right.
  4. Retirement

    A Look At IRA Separate Accounting Rules

    If you are a younger multiple beneficiary, make sure you understand the RMD regulations.
  5. Personal Finance

    Follow Your Passions And Success Will Follow

    Business success is often the result of hard work and having a passion for your career. Here of some example of passionate entrepreneurs who found success.
  6. Personal Finance

    How To Improve Your Leadership Skills

    Being a leader can help you in your career. Here are some tips for improving your leadership skills.
  7. Budgeting

    4 Contract Essentials You Need to Know

    Over your lifetime, you’ll be asked to sign lots of contracts – perhaps agreeing to purchase a home, a car or to join a new gym or online dating service.
  8. Budgeting

    5 Reasons You’ve Got the Wrong Mindset About Money

    There’s no getting around the fact that many people simply have the wrong mindset about personal wealth, and some go through their entire lives this way.
  9. Budgeting

    Seven Steps to Become Financially Independent

    With Independence Day just around the corner, now is the perfect time to finally set the goal of financial independence for yourself.
  10. Retirement

    Planning Your Second Career

    A second career can provide opportunities whether you are worried about outliving your retirement savings, or you want to stay productive and do something meaningful later in life.

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Portfolio Turnover

    A measure of how frequently assets within a fund are bought and sold by the managers. Portfolio turnover is calculated by ...
  2. Commercial Paper

    An unsecured, short-term debt instrument issued by a corporation, typically for the financing of accounts receivable, inventories ...
  3. Federal Funds Rate

    The interest rate at which a depository institution lends funds maintained at the Federal Reserve to another depository institution ...
  4. Fixed Asset

    A long-term tangible piece of property that a firm owns and uses in the production of its income and is not expected to be ...
  5. Break-Even Analysis

    An analysis to determine the point at which revenue received equals the costs associated with receiving the revenue. Break-even ...
  6. Key Performance Indicators - KPI

    A set of quantifiable measures that a company or industry uses to gauge or compare performance in terms of meeting their ...
Trading Center