As the debate on privatizing Social Security rages on in Washington, workers saving for retirement through their companies' 401(k) plans may have a new tool at their disposal: Roth 401(k) accounts, which companies are likely to roll out next year.

A Roth 401(k) works just like a Roth individual retirement account (IRA). Workers can put in after-tax amounts in the plan and withdraw contributions and earnings on those contributions tax-free at retirement. Regular IRAs, on the other hand, allow workers to deduct yearly contributions from their taxable income but require taxes to be paid when withdrawals begin.

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