I imagine you have not received any answers yet because they would VARY WILDLY!!!! There is a lot I do not know about you in order to help but here I will take a stab to stimulate some thought. Please bear with me as this is a long post, but I hope it has some valuable insight for you. Why not do these things:
*Check the local community college or university to see what the cost of obtaining an RN degree would be? Most schools can itemize fairly well the costs! Consider: you will pay for books, tuition, lab fees, liability insurance, possibly a physical exam and immunizations required for entry, uniforms and supplies for clinical practicum, e.g. a stethoscope and lab practicum "kits" required by some schools of nursing.
*You also must consider any courses outside the nursing core classes you would need to take....that can add up, too! (e.g. anatomy/physiology, chem, basic ed requirements, and so on). I have no clue where you are w/your educational prerequisites; that is something you need evaluated by the nursing dept. of the school you are considering.
Also, they will tell you what the graduation cap/gown and school nursing pin costs are so you can anticipate those expenses. Personally, I borrowed a cap and gown for my graduation. Also: Remember, too, you have to pay to take the NCLEX exam in the end. The school (probably) will be able to estimate the cost for you at some point. And the licensing fee for your state/province should be either part of what you pay when you take the NCLEX, or they will be able to tell you what that will cost, also.
*Then: look at what TYPE of nursing you want to do...Hospital? Hospice? Home health? School? Forensic? Private duty? Entepreneural? So many areas to choose from. It becomes obvious that what you choose may easily have an effect on the pay you can expect. You can work fulltime, part time, perdiem, or be a traveler. It is so variable! Often, substantial differentials are paid for "undesireable" shifts at certain institutions (e.g. night shift or weekend/holiday pay,; hey, this can pad your income nicely if you plan it right. )
Keep in mind, in some areas, the nursing shortage is so great in hospitals and other institutions, they will pay you a bonus to start.....but one caveat; they will want a certain time or other commitment out of you, so beware. READ THE FINE PRINT! Meantime, you will have to canvas some nurses or do some research in the area in which you are interested to see what type of pay a new graduating nurse can expect to start.
I don't imagine ANYONE here can accurately answer your questions w/o knowing WHERE YOU ARE, WHERE YOU WOULD STUDY, and WHERE YOU WOULD WORK! That would be sort of like taking a shot in the dark at an invisible target, sorry to say. Another suggestion is you can pick up a copy of last month's Nursing 2002 magazine; they had a pay survey in it and it may help you gain perspective on what to expect in your region; if you are in the USA.
Finally, it should NOT be too hard to find work as an RN just about anywhere. The trick is to be open to different possiblities and learn your possible "niche" as you go thru school. I personally was hired 2 months prior to graduation into Labor and Delivery nursing; which was lucky 5 years ago. The need is greater now than even then, so you should not have too much trouble finding WORK!
Good luck and I sincerely do hope you get what you are after!