As a freelance, with only a small pension to look forward to, my biggest source of stress is knowing I can never stop working and worrying if I will be able to keep going at the same level as now. I'm in my late 50s, so this is a very real problem!
I originally came to HP to try and set up some passive income to help this situation, but have been very disappointed with the results. I am now setting up a couple of sites. With luck they might bring in some money, and at least I will feel I more in control with my own web sites.
In February, I invested quite a lot of my savings in roof solar panels. The UK government will pay me for all the electricity I generate over the next 25 years and the payments will be indexed-linked. Even in the rainy, short days of February-April, I've been paid a sum which is equivalent to a 10% annual return on my investment, far better than if the money festered in the bank. What is more, I've already been told the next set of payments will be paid at a rate 4% higher than the previous one because of the inflation calculations. Over summer, the sum will increase considerably with longer days and (I hope!) more sunshine. In addition, my electricity bill has gone down by about 30%. Over each year as a whole, between the two aspects of income and savings from the panels, my gas and electricity bills are more or less covered by the panels and there will probably be some money left over.
My next step is to build up savings again to pay off my mortgage within the next year or so. If I succeed, I will not have to worry about losing my home, whatever happens.
At that point, I will be covered for home, heating and lighting, which leaves car loan, local council taxes, phone/internet, water rates, petrol and food as essential costs to be met from active income.
Since going freelance, I have also kept a minimum of two years income as savings in one form or other. This is over and above the other savings I've mentioned, which paid for the solar panels. This money is set aside for major emergencies/inability to work and I do not touch it for any other reason.
I still worry about pensions and poverty in old age, but, ironically, less so than I did ten years ago, when I was in full-time employment and married! Again, I think it is a matter of feeling I am in control of things, because I am certainly not going to sack myself (!) and I do not have to worry about somebody else's financial irresponsibility affecting my life.