Lakshmi is the goddess of wealth. When she enters the house, there is prosperity. Saraswati is the goddess of wisdom. When she enters the house, there is peace. But the two of them do not stay in the same house which is why peace and prosperity rarely co-exist. Lakshmi loves to visit the places where Saraswati resides, but her arrival marks the end of wisdom and peace. With wealth comes quarrels, bickering over money-matters, annoying Saraswati who runs away. The two goddesses are described as quarrelling sisters.
The only god who can bring them together is Ganesha. That is why the images of Lakshmi and Saraswati with Ganesha in the middle are very popular. Lakshmi is dressed in red and is covered with jewels. Saraswati wears a simple white sari and does not care for jewels. Lakshmi is associated with lotus flowers and pots and baskets overflowing with grain and gold. Saraswati is associated with books and memory beads and musical instruments. Lakshmi brings material pleasure in her wake; Saraswati brings intellectual bliss. To have both together, one has to pray to Ganesha.”
— Devdutt Pattanaik