I would very much like some information from you on this.
I have a B.S in Compy Sci, I worked in programming for several years, then I jumped into the management track.
I have kept up the programming for fun (Write flash games, taught my kids to code, etc.).
My company is doing a "reorganization" and my position is being eliminated (My entire department is). I'm getting severance for years put in, and having my accumulated leave paid out. That covers me for quite a while, my car is paid off and I have less than 5 years left on my mortgage, no other debt and a ton of savings. I was toying with the notion of being self-employed as a programmer (As in, a friend has some actually good ideas for apps that haven't been made yet, I can code them).
How is coding as freelance? How do you do your taxes? Did you set up your company at your house, or a P.O. Box?
Wow. There are a few questions there. Let me see if I can answer a couple without going off tangent.
Coding as a freelancer has been pretty good. I get to work on interesting problems. I get to choose who I want to work with. I get to learn and grow as a developer and at a personal by engaging with people in different countries, different backgrounds.
My accountant looks after my taxes. It's not complicated, money comes on, money goes out. But he's the expert and I don't want to fuck things up. It's something I learned when I was managing. A book that I dug at the time was James Persse's "Hollywood Secrets of Project Management Success", which basically asks the question: what can project managers learn from the Hollywood system that manages to churn out film after film, year after year, generally on time and on budget. Seriously, they do. Not all of them make a return on investment, but the real shockers we hear about - where some "star" gets his/her own way and ruins a studio with a runaway pet project - are way off the norm. The vast majority of Hollywood films are delivered on budget, yet they have the same mix of technical and creative activities as IT project - and have to respond to change in an agile manner.
My takeaway is that Hollywood has been doing all this for over a century and have figured out that you basically need to (a) manage risk and (b) have the right people doing the right job. Two things we are spectacularly bad at doing in the IT. Ah, and there I go off tangent.
My point is, I let people who know what they are doing worry about the tax, the company structure, etc. I just do what I love, which is coding. Do a good job, opportunities seem to arise - though I'm sure there's more to it.
Yes, I work from home - if that's what you are asking. Don't have any use for a PO Box. Everything happens on the internet anyway.
You seem superbly set up to give working as a freelancer a go. I don't have the luxury of a small mortgage, which can be a stress when you're waiting for invoices to be paid and such. But is it what you want to do? You have an opportunity here. Maybe use it to figure out what you really want to be doing with your time on Earth.
This may be terrible advice, but maybe just hunt down what makes you happy. Wish I did earlier, instead of following a career train I thought was what you were meant to do as a "grown up" - and missed out on too much watching my own kids growing up.
Sounds like you got it sorted. Your heart has probably already made the choices you'll use your head to justify. Good luck.