We want stuff. Stuff costs money. So, overall, money serves a positive function in our lives. Also overall, because of this positive function the vast majority of us have at least some fondness for money. And, again overall, our fondness places money in a 'role' where it can be construed as a source of motivation.
Personally, I would not say, "Money motivates". On the other hand, I will write 'Money motivates' here because [as described above] money serves an important function in virtually all our lives...as a result, many people pursue money...and a lot of people interpret that to mean "money motivates".
Stated another way, money is close to omnipresent. Being ubiquitous, from at least one perspective, it is illogical to state 'Money does not motivate'. Money is at the root of much human behaviour. Money is linked to the motivation of much human behaviour.
To ensure that somewhat-philosophical introduction does not conflict with things I have written about motivation in the past - Motivation is an intrinsic phenomenon, either conscious or not-conscious.
Now, some people talk about money as if it is the only valuable/meaningful thing in life. As a very good example, Kevin O’Leary filled the Dragons’ Den with his [apparent] obsessive love for money. And, we all know some people who spend huge amounts of time and brain-energy planning on how to get money without knowing how they plan to use it if/when it arrives.
At the other end of the spectrum, some people shun money and almost all the things money can buy. As a very good example, Mohandas [Mahatma] Gandhi dressed in minimal clothing, often without shoes, and lived and ate most-frugally as he led the Indian people to independence in the 1940’s. While I do not know people who live anywhere near as modestly as Mahatma Gandhi, I do know people who have decided to live ‘minimally’ [no keeping up with the Joneses, no fancy cars, no fancy homes, or fancy clothing, etc.].
Most people I know do not treat money [and what it can buy] in the extreme ways described above.
Most people I know view money as a thing worth having [the more the better], however, they do not place money on a pedestal or preach about or otherwise idolize money.
Most people I have met over the last few decades communicate [one way or another, either intentionally or by their actions] that they do not have enough money. That’s my perspective on their behaviour and situations…and…that’s a topic for another day.
Most people want stuff.
Most people try to get/earn money to pay for stuff.
So, there is a clear linkage between what people want, what people do, and their pursuit of money.
For most people, money is valued because of what it can get you.
For some people, money is valued because it can bring peace of mind.