We have a saying in our family: "When we were on welfare, we had nothing. Now we make $65K a year and we STILL have nothing.....only more expensive nothing!" :chuckle
It seems that no matter how much money one makes, the "needs" always expand to fit (or exceed) the available funds. When we had an income of $8,000 a year, we "needed" food, a roof over our heads, a car........now, we "need" the occasional dinner out, the big house, two cars, two phone lines AND a cell, cable and DSL, exercise equipment, several DVD players, etc., etc.
What I'm saying is, "comfortable" is a relative term, and yes, you can be comfortable on a nurse's salary.......but it helps if your needs are fairly simple, you have a partner who also works, and you're not raising a houseful of kids! By all appearances, we've achieved the American dream, especially when you consider our humble beginnings at the bottom of the socioeconomic food chain. However, we have NO savings, we rent our home, and we have only another decade or so of full earning power left. If we'd gotten started when we were still in our 20s, we'd be in a lot better shape, but we didn't, and we both expect to be working well into our "golden years".
So if you're smart, you'll get your degree while you're young and start saving as soon as you get your first job. Nurses' pay, while not as high as it should be, IS pretty good, especially when you take into consideration that the entry point is still an associate's or technical degree, and many people with bachelor's or master's degrees earn far less per hour than we do. I make almost $27 an hour, which is a high wage for my part of the country; by comparison, a social worker with a master's earns less than $35,000 a year, and a teacher with 5 years' experiences makes around $38-42K annually. So I don't exactly feel as if I've been given a dirty deal. Still don't make enough to afford the good life, though