In the long run, five years from now, I wouldn’t want to remain a freelancer. I would rather have a successful online business making enough money so I wouldn’t have to work as a freelancer.
That being said, I still prefer freelancing over being an employee. Of course it’s not all golden (as I wrote in pros and cons of freelancing), but in terms of long-term outlook, there are huge benefits:
Multidisciplinary – You get exposed to a much wider range of technologies and fields; when you’re an employee, you’ll usually need to switch jobs frequently in order to get that amount of technological exposure.
Age Discrimination – IMHO, it’ll be easier for you to find gigs when you’re a 50-years-old consultant than a 50-years-old employee; simply because as a consultant, your client would only want you for your technical skills and ability to deliver on a certain project. As an employee, they’ll look at other things like company culture and how your age would fit with the rest of company.
Business Skills – You’ll also learn business skills which could benefit you in any other position, even as an employee – you’ll be better at managing people, talking to the company’s clients, evaluating projects, doing negotiations, etc.