I'm frequently asked, "What is the best thing a consultant can do to guarantee his or her future?"
Start by recognizing that there's no way to guarantee anything about the future. If a giant asteroid hits the earth, I doubt that many consultants will survive.
A giant asteroid may be unlikely, but, for example, a giant world-wide Depression is a possibility we've already experienced more than once.
"What about joining one of the large, established consulting firms?"
Yes, there's a certain stability in an established firm, but nothing guaranteed. Lots of consultants get themselves fired from such firms, and the firms themselves sometime fold.
The same dangers apply to founding your own firm. There's some safety in numbers, but no guarantees. By and large, you have to take care of your own future for yourself. There's a few strong things any consultant can do to help ensure their future, but again, nothing is guaranteed.
Definitely save your money. Although you cannot absolutely guarantee anybody’s future, having financial resources will come as close as anybody can come.
Money in the bank will even guarantee your present—protecting you from the temptation to take the kind of unwholesome assignments that kill a consulting practice.
However, there’s one thing even more important than money. Health. Make it your first priority to do whatever you need to do to remain healthy.
Think of it this way: You are the number one tool of your consulting business, so never compromise your health for your business. You cannot receive a second body to replace the one you were given, so take care.