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. Short-Sale Rule

    A Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) trading regulation ...
  5. Wash-Sale Rule

    An Internal Revenue Service (IRS) rule that prohibits a taxpayer ...
  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. Asset Class

    A group of securities that exhibit similar characteristics, behave similarly in the marketplace, and are subject to the same ...
  2. Fiat Money

    Currency that a government has declared to be legal tender, but is not backed by a physical commodity. The value of fiat ...
  3. Interest Rate Risk

    The risk that an investment's value will change due to a change in the absolute level of interest rates, in the spread between ...
  4. Income Effect

    In the context of economic theory, the income effect is the change in an individual's or economy's income and how that change ...
  5. Price-To-Sales Ratio - PSR

    A valuation ratio that compares a company’s stock price to its revenues. The price-to-sales ratio is an indicator of the ...
  6. Hurdle Rate

    The minimum rate of return on a project or investment required by a manager or investor. In order to compensate for risk, ...
Trading Center