The prop business is rough. The only guys left around are the highly-capitalized and very organized firms and some are even growing into retail and designing their own software and expanding into the retail world. The truth is the industry might not last another 4 years of Obama/Romney. There will definitely be massive new regulations that hurt the little guy even more, especially in the case of Obama because he has all the banks and the FED waiting for his re-election to fulfil all the promises he's made his big donors.
You can find low deposits and super cheap rates but it doesn't really matter. You end up paying more to FINRA/SEC/TAXES then the prop firm and yourself. Now with all the licensing scams, who knows what the next step will be? Probably income verification requirement for leverage or something along those lines. It's sad but it's true.
Take the mortgage industry for example. Banks make all the interest in the first 5-7 years of the loans (see your mortgage contract) and then once the loan is gonna go bust, sell it to the FED for the full 100 pennies on the dollar of the original principal during the boom under some "quantitative easing" program which basically means public theft that nobody can stop. It's ponzi-scheme after ponzi-scheme after ponzi-scheme and I am really starting to believe the situation is not going to last.
Establishing a business overseas somewhere and trading under that business is probably the best bet for the future. It will be very expensive and difficult for US traders to get access to markets in the future. All the n00bs on the boards asking for what firm will give $1500 deposit and 25 cents per 1k shares will not find those type of deals anymore. That's why if you want to learn by participating in the markets, you're hurting yourself by waiting.
I think the goals for the financial industry are to consolidate into too-big-to-fail mega-banks and over-regulate the smaller companies. This is what the strategy has been for 40+ years and it's working like a charm.
For all of our sakes, I hope I am wrong on all accounts and will be very happy if that turns out to be the case.