It is not for the likes of us to judge whether you are stupid or not as all anyone can do is make a recommendation based on their own experience.
I recommend that it is not a good idea to borrow money with which to trade. The main reason being that you will feel under enormous emotional pressure to make profit. This is something that is just not the same when you are using money that if you lose wont put you in a debt situation.
Others will have different views but this is mine.
...there's everything you need on this 'ere board (and others) plus the net as a whole, to develop your own trading style and system. I'd be tempted to take the less risky approach, but hey, each to their own.
You are young, and can take chances. Now is the time!! But no, I would say that going into debt to do it is a bad idea. Plus you obviously need help since you weren't successful the first time so...join a proprietary room where they can give you the kind of help that MIGHT put you over the hump!
You would be a good candidate, I should think. I always like it when someone is hungry enough to put up their own bread to trade but fail for, perhaps, no fault of their own.
I hate to moralise or make somebody else decisions for them but you need to ask yourself a lot of questions.
If I go this route what's the worst place I could end up ?
Where is it likely to lead me ?
What alternatives have I got ?
I keep on reading over and over one key attributes of a trader are knowing when to act, patience until you reach that point and not getting too emotional about things. The fact that you're asking is a good sign tho, lesser people would've just jumped straight in.
At the end of the day though you're going to make your own decisions no matter what anybody else tells you.
Lucky - a £20K loan as a personal debt to go it (again) alone would be IMO a mistake. Without any further education anyway.
If the arcade/prop trading has a good background/reputation and you 'know' you have what it takes - then the £20K could be considered (psychologically, if not for tax purposes) as a business loan. You owe the same. The pressure's the same. But you wont feel the same level of pressure.
However, as you say you've 'gone back' to work I take it you're in a business sector that is reasonably buoyant. As Dow Dog said 'go back to the rigs' (or contract or do whatever you can to make the most money in whatever you're going to do).
Save the £20K while learning, paper trading, reading these and other trading boards.
Don't know about the MSc route as that takes more time than I think you have the patience for and won't necessarily give you what you want in the end anyway.
Since we are all here to decide how he F*&#@ up his life, I'll chime in again.
Clearly he wants to trade not go back to school and maybe/maybe not get into a career he likes after that. Also, going back to make money pushes his age back even further. Wife kids house in Devon....NOT the time to see if he can do it.
Now, to go into debt seems silly but you can use others money AND methodology (coupled with yours). You get to trade, find out if you are "the dogs..." (do I have that right?) and if not? move on with your life. You are young, take your chances now!
1. Don't go into debt, the psychological pressure to take low probability trades will be too great.
2. Get yourself an education, by whatever means you choose, in how to actually trade. This does NOT, imo, entail doing a Masters.
3. Start small and work your way up to an increasing trading pot, constantly taking steps to minimise pressure and stress.
4. Always keep it simple and easy and above all don't spend years of your life looking for a non-existent Holy Grail of trading.
5. Remember this business IS a business so treat it as such.
It requires great self discipline, application and humility to succeed, not just a will to do so.
Rashness and/or an urge to gamble WILL lead to failure.
But, before you even consider going down this road again, perhaps you might want to consider why you want to trade.
Is it merely the desire to escape from your present existence?
Or is the motivation more positive as well?
Do you really WANT to trade or simply escape?
Personally I wanted both and achieved my dream and hey, if I could do it, so can you - but be aware of what takes to get where you want to be.
Only kidding. Save your money and find out what the success rate is before you do anything rash, then after the sobering facts have been divulged, consider if the risk reward is compatible to the other possible ways of investing the capital.